'Not fit to drink': Kilkivan man's 'mineral water'
SHANE Yule is a Kilkivan resident who misses the old days of lower rates and a much more "local" local council.
He says the town water at his place has never been so good you would choose to drink it, but these days it is a lot more expensive.
And his local councillor Hilary Smerdon says Mr Yule has a point.
He said it is possible Mr Yule has worse water than most Kilkivan people.
Mr Yule is at the end of a line that needs to be flushed out regularly because of excess minerals," he said.
Mr Yule puts it even more bluntly.
"I will not drink this," he said, holding a glass of town water from his garden tap.
"Did you see how brown it was when it first came out?"
Although the water ran clear after a fraction of a second, he says it still has an unpleasant taste.
The problem is heavy mineralisation - mostly calcium - enough to clog the pipes that fill his toilet cistern and washing machine.
And even those limited uses take a toll, he said.
"I'm sick of having to buy new appliances because they get clogged up from all the minerals.
"It's all bore water here and the bores are pretty low at the moment. I've never had a high opinion of the town water supply, but drought has made it worse as the bores get low."
Mr Yule says his half-year rates bill in 2012 was $380.25.
Now, not quite five years later, it is three times that, $1150 for the six months.
He blames centralised management for the cost, saying too much money is wasted "mowing the dirt across the road".
"There's no grass because it hasn't rained, but they mow anyway. At least when the council was based here, you'd go and talk to them and it'd get done," he said.
Cr Smerdon was sympathetic, on all Mr Yule's issues.
"He's at the end of a line that needs regular flushing.
"I've raised this with council staff before and they've flushed it out.
"I'll tell them again. He shouldn't have to flush it out on his side of the water meter.
"Kilkivan water generally isn't all that bad really, it just has a lot of minerals."
Cr Smerdon says he also shares Mr Yule's concerns about under-use and under-staffing at Kilkivan depot.
"I asked about it at the councillor briefing session on Wednesday and they told me they have one vacancy that has not yet been filled and that otherwise there's been no change in staff numbers.
"I think there's been a reduction since council amalgamation though, and the explanation I've been given is that Kilkivan used to do a lot of work for Main Roads and this revenue is not coming through now.
"I still believe the council needs to do more for rural residents and I've always said that," he said.