Biodegradable water bottling facility proposed for Daintree

PROPOSED PROJECT

Karlie Brady

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A proposed water bottling facility in Upper Daintree will use paperboard cartons similar to the examples pictured.
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A locally owned biodegradable water bottling facility located in Upper Daintree is a step closer to reality after a development application passed through this week’s Council meeting.

The approval of the development application for a Material Change of Use for Medium Impact Industry (Water Bottling Facility) is subject to a number of conditions which applicant, Jim Noli, said he is working through with Council.

The facility proposes to tap into Council’s existing raw water intake line from the Daintree water intake. The water will be gravity fed to a 10,000-litre holding tank and then piped to the water bottling facility, where the water is filtered and treated.

Mr Noli said they would bottle the water into BPA-free paperboard cartons which are 85 per cent biodegradable.

“At the moment, 85 per cent biodegradable cartons are the best that are on the market. Our goal is to eventually achieve 100 per cent biodegradable products,” Mr Noli said.

“We are in Daintree, it is a beautiful World Heritage site with pristine water, and we want to do something to reflect that.”

Mr Noli said he hopes to work with World Heritage and reef environmental groups to ensure the best practice for the environment. There are also a number of environmental conditions laid out in Council’s report.

Mr Noli added he aimed to sell the water both locally and further afield and hoped the Daintree name on biodegradable water bottles would advertise the region and help boost tourism.

Following Tuesday’s Council meeting a number of concerns began circulating social media about the impacts on the river and what will happen when the Shire is on water restrictions.

In a statement to Newsport, Douglas Shire Council said their “Water and Wastewater Department had calculated that 10,000 litres of water per 24 hours was available without impacting the supply to or the performance of the Daintree water treatment plant.

“As with all water users, Council can apply water restrictions to manage demand depending on intake levels and weather forecast,” the statement reads.

The connection will have a valve stemming the water flow rate so that the 10,000 litres is taken over the entire 24 hours per day resulting in a negligible impact to treatment plant supply.

The water drawn into the bottling facility will be metred and charged per litre.

Mr Noli said when there are water restrictions the facility will draw from its secondary supply source, a bore.

“When there are restrictions, we will be treated like everybody else in the Shire, we will be on restrictions too and we can switch a valve over and pull our water out from the bore.”

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said he is happy with the proposal and confident in the work completed by staff to ensure a minimal impact to the area.

“It is also great to see a proposed development that will create more jobs in Douglas Shire,” he said.

The application for material change of use was unanimously passed at the Council meeting by the Mayor and all four Councillors, with Cr Abigail Noli declaring she had no conflict of interest with the project despite having the same surname as the applicant.


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