Councillors discuss Newey progress

Councillors were updated at last week’s council meeting on the temporary ban on free camping at the Newey recreation area.

Cobar Shire Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko said work was progressing on the creation of a Plan of Management for the Newey.

Council has received two applications from consultants to do the work associated with creating the Management Plan.

“Both estimate it will take them three months to carry out the work,” Mr Vlatko said.

He said consultants have now been engaged as a matter of urgency and are currently in the process of preparing a planning proposal to be submitted to the State Government which would then be put on public exhibition.

At the meeting Cr Janine Lea-Barrett questioned why it was taking so long for any progress on the matter when council minutes showed that councillors had decided in July 2017 that immediate action needed to be taken.

“This issue is obviously affecting businesses in town,” Cr Lea-Barrett said.

She asked if council’s decision to ban camping at the Newey would also apply to every other piece of crown land in Cobar.

Mr Vlatko said caravaners can stop and rest anywhere however there are restrictions on where they can camp.

“We still want to welcome visitors to Cobar but the Newey is temporarily out of bounds,” he said.

Also at the meeting Cr Peter Yench called for work to start on digging out the Newey water catchment area while the area is dry.

He enquired if council had received prices for the hire of a scraper to do the work.

Cr Yench said he had been speaking to a few locals mine workers with experience in this area, who said they would be happy to volunteer their services on their days off.

“I’m trying to save costs,” Cr Yench said.

Council’s director of engineering services, Stephen Taylor said the work would need to be done by a specialist.

“We need someone who knows what they are doing so they don’t penetrate the membrane bottom in the catchment area,” he said.