$9m received for flood work

CLARENCE Valley Council has received around $9 million of State Government flood recovery money and to date has spent around half of it.

And a year on from last year’s flood, the good news is that the council expects to spend the rest by the end of June.

Council deputy general manager Rob Donges said it had received $5.6 million from the RTA to repair road damage and it has spent $3.5 million of that.

“There’s no single major project, just 400 different projects within that and we’ll have all that done by June 30,” Mr Donges said.

About six weeks ago council received a further $2.66 million from the NSW Department of Public Works.

That money has been earmarked for repairs to levees, pumps and open spaces damaged in the flood that hit the Valley 12 months ago. We only received that money six weeks ago so we’ve hardly spent any of that,” Mr Donges said.

Council has also received a $1 million interest-free loan from the State Government for infrastructure spending.

Mr Donges said the majority of this money has been spent on pumping equipment to remove water ponding behind the levee banks in Grafton, Maclean and, to a lesser extent, Yamba.

“If you have a rain event like we did in Maclean where we have a very heavy storm event as well as the floods, you get the water ponds behind the walls that can’t get out because the river’s up,” he said.

“We’re concentrating on those areas so we can get the water out of there faster.”

Mr Donges said one of the lessons they learnt last year was the need to have well-established command centres in Maclean and Grafton that had secure power and communications and facilities to house workers during the flood.

Mr Donges said the levees had stood up to the flood well, with some areas of minor damage repaired.

A leak in the levee wall in Maclean has been sealed. The State Emergency Services has also upgraded its capacity to respond to future floods. It has improved its computer system and communications to other emergency agencies, purchased small inflatable boats and undertaken training courses.



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