NO LEVEE: The town of Brushgrove goes under in flood.
NO LEVEE: The town of Brushgrove goes under in flood. Jojo Newby

‘Consolation prizes’ raised by levee wall experts

SAFETY considerations have ruled out flood proofing the village of Brushgrove with a levee wall.

On Tuesday Clarence Valley Council ended years of in-principle support for the construction of a 1-20 year flood levee when the meeting voted to accept the view of a draft report that said the levee did not pass the cost benefit analysis test and could create a major safety hazard in a major flood.

The Grafton and Lower Clarence Floodplain Risk Management Plan - Review of Brushgrove Section, August 2013, compiled by council consultants GHD, was on public exhibition from September 27 to October 29.

It said a levee would offer the village protection in smaller floods, but encourage residents to stay too long in a major flood.

As there was only one road out of town and even minor flooding made this impassable near the Gordon Wingfield Bridge, encouraging residents to wait out a flood could create problems.

To add insult to the injury done to residents' hopes, Cr Andrew Baker was successful in removing three options he labelled as 'consolation prizes' with an amendment to the motion to accept the officers' recommendation.

Options to look at ways of improving the road into town near the bridge to improve evacuation times, look at the feasibility of silt management strategies and insert a succinct summary of the recommended actions into the report were all "consolation prizes" for residents who had hoped to get a levee for the village, Cr Baker said.

Cr Margaret McKenna said Cr Baker's description of these issues as 'consolation prizes' was an insult to council staff and the flood plain management committee.

She said these people had technical expertise and had decided to include these points in their recommendation.

The amended motion was carried four votes to three.



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