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Maleny Water Supply Study

Published March 07

Pipeline solution

Cr Dick Newman announced in The Range News 29th March 2007 that the “pipeline from Landershute is the best option”...and that “the pipeline would have no impact on the precinct.”

Hardly news, we all knew that back in year 2000 when council was poised to start construction.

So why are we back there again?   And will the Maleny Water Group reform to ensure the pipeline doesn’t go ahead – again.


Prior to 2000 the Caloundra Council set out to investigate the future water supply for Maleny.

As you will know the supply all comes from the Obi Obi.   If the water is flowing over the showground’s weir, we have water.   If not, we don’t.

Even prior to the start of the worst drought in 100 years (2002), the Obi Obi could run so low that there was only 20-30 days of water in the holding reservoir on top of the hill.    Caloundra Council set about a future water plan for Maleny.

Brown and Root and J R Wilson were two of the expert consultant groups employed to present council with a future scenario based on a population capped at 7000, and all options.    At the time there were 800 connections to the town water/sewage system.   The optimum number of connections is 1500 due to the limitations of the treatment plant.


After approximately three years of study, recommendations and debates, the option presented to the councilors was a pipeline from the treatment plant at Landershute.

The State Government – Department of Natural Resources & Mines, approved the project.

The State Government agreed to meet its commitment of 40% funding of the proposed cost of $3 million.   CalAqua aquired permission and rights to set the 200-250mm pipe across the properties leading up to the top of Bergum Road.

The study had been completed, assessed, costed and the project on the agenda for its final tick when I was elected March 27th 2000.    After being briefed by the Mayor Don Aldous, the CEO, Garry Storch, the Manager Cal Aqua Gary Palmer and two officers from the State Government’s Department of Natural Resources, I had no issue with moving and voting for the pipeline.

The Maleny Water Group a self-appointed group which included – Michael Berry, Jill Jordan, Paul Gilmour-Walsh, Gaby Luft, Sharon Harwood, Jillean Pechey, Sammy Ringer, Dick Snell, John Wildman and Lyn Fairlie decided to oppose the pipeline and support water tanks as the solution.    They ran a major campaign.

Given that more than 80% of Division One residents were reliant on water tanks, the issue to me was the then 800 residents, Maleny businesses, the school and hospital needed a reliable town water supply.

During my term and the battle over the pipeline three times the township was down to 10 days supply and Gary Palmer and I were praying for rain.     When the Obi ran low, which was often, council turned off the stand-pipe at the showgrounds (and we had to lock taps against water “borrowing”) which meant the water carriers had to travel to the closest supply from Landershute at Caloundra.

It also meant no local supply for the Rural Fire Brigade, who had to resort to finding private dams/swimming pools to draw from in an emergency.

The Water Group ran a huge petition, with over 2200 names which the State Member Carolyn Male presented to the then Minister for Local Government, Nita Cunningham, who taking advice from Ms Male, withdrew state funding, citing the need for further community consultation.    After the event council staff assessed the petition (a rare occurance) to find that only a handful of residents connected to the system had signed opposing the pipeline.

At least 400 signatures were double, false, or from outside the city.    It was not representative of the community.

Cr Dick Newman who said a few weeks ago council had not investigated a future water plan for Maleny !!!! this week announced that the result of the study by the Maleny Integrated Sustainable Water Management Plan was A PIPELINE FROM LANDERSHUTE IS THE BEST OPTION.

And then added:  “The Pipeline would have no impact on the precinct.”

The very plan that had been started during Ian Bryce’s term and completed during mine.   - Deju Vu.

The Questions I believe that should be asked of our council representative is:  What is the cost of our rejuvenated pipeline project?    Or how much more than the original $3 million?

Does Cal Aqua still have the agreements stuck with landholders to lay the pipeline across their property?

Will this revived project also include the reforming and sealing of Burgum Road ?

And how about an apology to former councillor Pauline Clayton, who was publicly accused by members of the Maleny Water Group of lying when she said the pipeline would not be used to supply the proposed precinct.

Pauline Clayton

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March 07

Following the publication of the letter from Pauline Clayton, former Councillor with the Caloundra City Council the letter below was received from the present Caloundra City Councillor, Cr. Dick Newman.   In fairness to both parties we publish the letter from Cr. Newman.   .......Editor.

Pauline Clayton unfortunately failed to listen to the genuine concerns raised by the Maleny community in respect to a pipeline.    Her first sentence is typically misleading.    I certainly did not report that the pipeline is the best option, but that consultants had concluded the pipeline to be the best option.    This has been rejected by community previously and may be again.    This time, however, community will be armed with up to date knowledge that was denied by the previous Council.    Pauline also seeks to continue her role of dividing the community by naming various people and using aggresive language such as 'battle of the pipeline'.

This letter is typical of our former Councillor and adds nothing to an eventual resolution of our water supply.

Cr. Dick Newman


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