Coober Pedy News

No 77                         18 March  2005

Archived copy

The Coober Pedy News is published fortnightly. For updates between issues, on which comments can be registered, click the Coober Pedy News Blog.

         New Visitor Information Centre

The Minister for Tourism,  Hon Jane Lomax-Smith MP opened the new Visitor Information Centre in the office of the District Council of Coober Pedy on March 17. She said tourism was about more dollars for the town, and visitor information centres helped get visitors to stay longer.

Minister for Tourism Hon Jane Lomax-Smith MP and Deputy Mayor Mike Maylin


No Pokies 4 Coober Pedy

There will be another Community Forum with No Pokies MP Nick Xenophon as guest speaker to officially launch its website, in the Greek Hall on Monday 21 March at 7.30 pm.

From a Letter to the Editor in 'The Australian', 3 March 2005 -

"Motivator Dr Murray Banks tells of being approached after one of his seminars by a man who said, 'Motivation is one thing but I'm 39 and the law degree I want takes seven years' study. I'd be 46.' Banks said, 'True, and how old will you be in seven years if you don't do the course?'"


District Council March Meeting Highlights

59 dogs destroyed


Environmental Health Officer Keith Simmonds reported that he inspected four accommodation and four food premises, and five swimming pools. The public pool was of an excellent standard, other pools were not conforming to automatic dosing and correct chlorine readings.


Provisional Development Planning Consent was granted, subject to new tunnels being certified sound by a Geotechnical Engineer, in N. Tippet's application to excavate new tunnels as part of the existing tourist mine on the Stuart Highway.


Consent given to United Bowling and Sports Club for construction of two tennis courts (which can also be used for other sports) and associated lighting and fencing, subject to light of the bowling green and tennis court being turned off no later than midnight Mon to Thurs and 1 am Sat, Sun and Mon unless varied by Council.


Council decided not to participate in facilitating a Community Information Forum to provide members of the community with information about council rating systems, thereby saving $2000.


Council voted to accept offers to buy surplus electrical assets:

4 Cummins Generators - $117,000

10 transformers - $16,000

2 Wartsilla generators - $108,000

Cost of removing generators from Coober Pedy included in purchase price.


Two people got up from the "cheap seats" as they are now being called during the meeting, to address Council in the Community Forum time. 

Kypros Pantelis from Ampol Service Station told how on one single day recently he called police about ten different times to address the problem of drunks littering and harassing in the area around the service station. He said that police told him that it was not a police problem but a Council problem. He wanted to know if that was so, and if the area was in the 'dry area'. CEO Trevor McLeod told him that the problem was definitely not a Council one - it was a police responsibility, and that the area was not in the 'dry area'.


Yannis Athanasiadis from Umoona Mine asked if he could get copies of the diagrams of the extensions to 'Tom's Working Mine' in case he wished to object to them. He was told that he could get copies. 

(If he had been there earlier in the evening he would have witnessed Council granting Provisional Development Planning Consent to the project.)


Cr. Athanasiadis said he wanted to see published in the Coober Pedy Regional Times the attendances at meeting  of councillors, so that the public would know who was on the job for them and who wasn't.

Cr Boro Rapaic's Motion on Notice, "That Council publicly supports the proposal to remove all poker machines from the town", was not able to be heard. Deputy Mayor and Chair Mike Maylin said he had been advised that he would have to leave the chambers because of a 'Conflict of Interest' in any such discussion - he does maintenance and repair work on the poker machines - and that would mean there would not be a quorum. There are only seven councillors and two were not present.


For the second time in a row staff from the Coober Pedy Regional Times were at the meeting. In the last three years they have been there about six times in total.

From the Agenda:  Sewerage Disposal Working Party Report

Minutes of meeting on November 29

Present: M Maylin, P Athanasiadis, L Hoad, G Riches. 

Apologies: K Simmonds

Absent: H Blobel


G. Riches gave a brief summary of the history necessitating the formation of the working party. Problems with ineffective disposal of effluent is becoming more frequent. These problems appear to be caused by the use of more water in normal domestic situations and thereby filling shafts. The problems appear to be caused by seepage from shafts which in turn affect nearby, or lower, underground dwellings.

The objective of the Working Party is to identify the causes, short and long term effects and options for preventing problems.


The current Town Sewerage system can only accommodate an additional 40% sewerage based on existing tanks.

Use of the treated waste is in demand and more water is desirable, particularly at the Triangle.

Effort should be made to reduce the demand of Town water by the use of water saving devices such as re-use in toilets, landscaping etc. More rain water tanks are desirable and a government subsidy should be considered.

T address the current situation it is necessary to identify a range of issues, such as:

- Extending the existing main,

- The extent of the extension,

- Levels of areas to be serviced,

- High risk area,

- High volume users,

- Cost of the service,

- Who will pay,

- Cost to ratepayers,

- Possibility of government grants,

- Other systems and effectiveness,

- Cost of hydraulic design and consultants,

- Maintenance of systems and ongoing costs,

- Council authority to require properties to have systems connected,

- Council's liability.


Having regard to the types of dwellings within the built up area of Coober Pedy the following areas were identified as priorities:

1. Extension of existing drain in Saint Nicholas Street near the Council office into Italian Club Road to the Italian Club, and extending into Willcox and Bean Streets,

2. Extension of the same drain up Saint Nicholas Street, picking up the Greek Club, into Robin Boulevard, picking up the United Club, and extending into Grey Street,

3. Extension of the drain in Seventeen Mile Road into Koska and Alp Streets to the rear of the Umoona accommodation on Allotment 644,

4. Extension of Catacomb Road drain into Shaw Place and nearby areas.

Numerous other areas were discussed, however the risk appears to be more prominent where dugouts exist.


In other areas it may not be feasible to extend the sewerage main at this stage. In these areas septic tanks or similar should be required. Enquiries are to be made into the types of septic tanks available, their effectiveness in Coober Pedy and the cost of installation.


It was noted that Bean and Willcox Streets are to be sealed in the current financial year. These funds should be used in other streets s it is inappropriate to install new sewer mains in newly sealed roads.

The provision of an efficient sewerage system for Coober Pedy is now necessary. It is unlikely any system can be provide in the short term, however the process is to be started at the earliest opportunity.

With the authorisation of the Council's PAR there will be an opportunity for new development being required to install proper effluent disposal systems. This is being experienced at present with the application for four group dwellings in Elleway Drive by the State Government.

Most problems appear to be from properties built prior to Council being established. There has never been a responsibility for ratepayers to provide proper systems, with the exception of:

1. Not creating an insanitary condition, and

2. Hutchison Street businesses.

Other issues may be the difficulty for some property owners to connect to the system due to non-complying internal plumbing.


Obviously Council is not in a financial position to fund such works by itself. To initiate the proposed upgrading of sewerage infrastructure it is recommended request be made of the Federal and State Governments to provide funding to investigate and design a system in the aforementioned identified areas.

In addition options of providing subsidies to people required to install septic tanks and water tanks be investigated.