A LAST-MINUTE plea to delay by three months the upgrade of Dumaresq Dam’s wall has been rejected by councillors.
Margaret O’Connor sought the delay at last Monday’s Armidale Dumaresq Council meeting.
It would have allowed a review of new technologies that could detect movement or deterioration in the wall and provide an early warning in the event of a wall breach. An upgrade of the dam wall was scheduled in 2012, after the NSW Dams Safety Committee deemed it insufficient to withhold a catastrophic event.
After public consultation, councillors gave the nod to a $3.4 million plan that would see concrete buttressing downstream of the existing wall.
At a meeting in March with the Dumaresq Local Area committee, residents were told money had been set aside for the project in the current budget, however, final costings have yet to be established.
Council spokesman Andre Kompler advised that would be finalised by September and he was not expecting any issues.
But Cr O’Connor said emerging technologies meant such a costly upgrade of the wall might not be necessary.
“We are caught between two safety regimes,” Cr O’Connor said.
“This review will look at new technology, such as sirens, that could monitor the dam wall.
“The extra time will also give us more time to identify what the new standards [for NSW dams’ safety] will be.”
But councillors rejected her request, which was seconded by Laurie Bishop.
They heard how consultants Arup had already produced a preliminary design to thicken the wall.
The design needs to be peer reviewed before being submitted to the safety committee for its approval.
When construction is eventually built, the area’s toilets and part of the walking track will have to be closed to ensure workers’ safety.
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