Brushgrove under flood earlier this year.PHOTO: JOJO NEWBY
Brushgrove under flood earlier this year.PHOTO: JOJO NEWBY

Council vague on flood levee

LAWRENCE Rd residents fear they could be in the firing line for excess water if a flood levee is built at Brushgrove.

Concerned property owner Greg Nicholls said it was not rocket science to know putting an obstruction in a flood zone would divert water elsewhere.

"At the moment we are getting more flooding (on Lawrence Rd) from the Heber St and Ulmarra levees," Mr Nicholls said.

"So my fears are, if the council puts in another levee it's going to create a bigger bottleneck in the river and increase flood heights in Lawrence, Southgate, Lower Southgate and possibly the Great Marlow area."

Mr Nicholls said that while he had been hounding the Clarence Valley Council for information as to the affects of building a levee, they had failed to put his mind at ease.

Acting director for environment, planning and community David Morrison said the council had not yet completed a comprehensive analysis of where the water would be diverted.

"A model of that gets done when (the council) decides if they support the building of the levee," Mr Morrison said.

"We do enough design work to make a fundamental decision; then if they decide to go ahead with it we will do more design work on it to see what it might do to flood levels elsewhere"

Mr Nicholls said it seemed a backwards way to do things and could not understand why current levees were not being fixed before a new one was built.

"Why is the council talking about new levees when there is no building at all being done on the Great Marlow levee which is falling to bits," he said.

"Council needs to stop passing the buck and saying RMS is hand- ling it, and just get it done.

"Let's fix the old ones up first."

His concern comes as the reviewed Grafton and Lower Clarence Floodplain Risk Management Plan goes on exhibition, offering a chance for community members to give feedback on the draft plans. Mr Morrison said while he understood the concern from residents, until the council made a decision as to which way they would tackle the Brushgrove flooding issue, there was no need to stress.

"A decision has not yet been made; we don't know whether a levee would be funded yet - it's one of a few options," he said.

The draft plan also looks at other options such as house-raising for Brushgrove residents, planning and development controls and flood warning systems.

It is on display on the council website and at the council chambers until October 29.

The draft plan

 Looks at the option of putting in a flood levee wall, estimated to cost between $1.9-$10.4m, and house-raising, estimated to cost $350,000-$1.6m.

 The plan is based on a one in 20 flood (5% chance of it happening in a given year).

 It estimates that 60 properties would be affected by a 5% flood, depending on rainfall.

 The levee wall would be somewhere between 5-5.3m.

 See clarence.nsw.gov.au for the full draft report.



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