30 April, 2015. 15:45
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
THE BETOOTA HOT Springs opened to local fanfare and stern warnings from health authorities this afternoon.
Mayor Cr Keith Carton said the concerns for public safety were “unfounded” and “inflammatory” and declared that the hot springs were safe for all residents to enjoy.
“When I was a kid, we used to swim in any body of water we could find,” he said.
“Billabongs, waterholes, dams, tanks, troughs and burra holes. Anything. So to say this hot springs is dangerous is just bullshit,”
“Me and me gamaradas never did once get a sickness [sic] from swimming in anything.”
The hot spring development is rumoured to have cost the local shire council well over $600 and took over a month to prepare.
Public swimming places must receive accreditation from the Queensland state government, which Dallas Starky, a preeminent bush poet and the local rotary group president says Mayor Carton “hasn’t bothered with”.
“The water is unsafe to drink,” said Mr Starky.
“It should even be fenced off to keep the cows off it,”
“I sent a sample to be tested in Adelaide – it has mercury in it.”
Mayor Carton has admitted that he didn’t get the accreditation.
“I’m not a socialist. I’m a doer,” said Carton.
“If I say the hot spring is safe, the hot spring is safe,”
Development of this scale in somewhat unprecedented in Betoota as the local mining and gas companies refuse to support the local communities.
This has prompted the topic of discussion at tonight’s council meeting at the Shire Hall, where councillors will try to take stock of what big gas and oil multi-nationals have given back to Betoota and the surrounding areas in return for our mineral wealth.
Minutes of this evening’s meeting will be available on the Diamantina Shire website on May 7, when the council receptionist gets back from Fiji – she’s the only person in Bedourie who has a laptop.