Mayoral Candidate Cr Debbie Blumel said today Unitywater CEO Jim Soorley must give top priority to replacing failing infrastructure that is repeatedly spilling raw sewage into streets and backyards in Caloundra.
During last week’s heavy rain Caloundra’s sewerage system failed for the sixth time in 12 months, polluting residents’ properties and the ecologically fragile Pumicestone Passage.
“It is a situation that is totally unacceptable in a wealthy western society,” Cr Blumel said. “It is a serious issue for our tourist industry but more importantly it presents a critical health risk to the people of Caloundra and to Coast visitors.
“We have never wanted to be compared to Queensland’s Gold Coast and we certainly don’t want to be compared to the Gold Coast in third-world Africa, but that is what will happen if Unitywater does not act immediately.”
“Nobody wants raw sewage running through their yards and streets and into our precious waterways, the lifeblood of our tourism industry, but it seems to be happening here every time it rains.”
Cr Blumel said Unitywater had an obligation to residents to repair faults as they occurred, especially faults as serious as Caloundra’s.
She said Unitywater under CEO Jim Soorley had simply become a money making machine and was ignoring its primary reason for existence, which was to provide an efficient and cost-effective water and sewerage system for the Sunshine Coast.
“Just six months after taking over Unitywater 18 months ago, Jim Soorley bragged to the media he had found savings of $102million in capital works expenditure and was deferring essential upgrades,” Cr Blumel said.
“Mr Soorley should care less about Unitywater’s bottom line and care more for the efficiency of his money-grabbing monolith.
“He should spend some of his so-called savings to fix the problems in Caloundra and pay moreattention to the health of Sunshine Coast residents and to the health of our vital tourism industry, with its flow-on effects to the broader Coast economy.”