Water, water everywhere. Clarence Valley Council is assessing road damage.
Water, water everywhere. Clarence Valley Council is assessing road damage. The Daily Examiner

Yamba prone to disaster?

YAMBA'S urban growth may not be in tune with environmental reports that predict bigger floods, higher sea levels as well as coastal and river bank erosion, putting low-lying areas at risk of being cut off from evacuation points.

With plans for growth at West Yamba now in the hands of the NSW Department of Planning, concerns have been raised that the basis on which the proposed development was passed by Clarence Valley Council may have been superseded by new data.

Yamba does not have a flood evacuation plan, with the State Emergency Service being the lead response agency in the event of flood.

In a submission to council during the community consultation process on any development at West Yamba, the SES stated that "It does currently consider the evacuation of the community at risk of flooding to be problematic due to access and the need for an evacuation shelter".

It stated that the development of an adequate strategy for Yamba is required regardless of the development of West Yamba, and recommended in effect that the local environment plan (LEP) be deferred pending the floodplain management plan.

Council is now required to formulate an evacuation plan. It is seeking funding from the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) to carry out research and any possible works required enabling a plan to be put in place.

"A lot of work is to be done before West Yamba is to go ahead," Clarence Valley Council deputy general manager Des Schroder said.

Higher sea levels may result in more flooding problems in Yamba in the future.

While the risk to life from river flooding is considered to be low in Yamba, due to innundation occuring slowly, future storm surges could mean that the desired evacuation point in the town, Yamba Hill, could be made inaccessible.

Yamba Road is readily cut by floodwaters and the only road out of Yamba to the Pacific Highway is also at risk of innundation.


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