Flood levee ‘back on table’ with options explored

DEPUTY Mayor Tony Perrett said this week while it was obvious Gympie Regional Council could not afford the cost of a flood levee in the CBD, the State Government had put the concept back on the table.

Cr Perrett, in expressing his preferred options for a flood mitigation project in Gympie, said the Monkland/ Glanmire project to improve access to that commercial precinct in a flood would bring significant benefit to Gympie.

Recovery and Resilience Minister David Crisafulli had thrown the flood levee back into the mix by the things he told the council during last week's visit.

"Obviously everything is back on the table," he said.

Cr Perrett said it was also important that the Coondoo Creek bridge "get sorted sooner rather than later".

As for the suggestion of a buyback in the Gympie CBD, he said the plan to buy up properties in Jaycee Way was already in the pipeline before flood mitigation was on the agenda.

"There has to be a fair bit of discussion before I would support any buyback in Mary St," Cr Perrett said.

Any such move had the potential to create a lot of angst among Mary St property owners.

Cr Mick Curran supports the Drummond Dr/Penny Rd access route (which has been approved), the raising of Coondoo Bridge, the CBD levee and a flood access bridge for the Southside.

"Concern has been raised the levee will only benefit a few businesses at great expense to council which will cause a significant rate rise," he said.

"This is not correct.

"Approximately 81 businesses trade in the affected CBD area.

"Council's contribution will, as it currently stands, be $3.5m with the remainder being funded by State and Federal government if built.

"Whilst council's $3.5m is a significant amount, when taken in the context that the yearly council budget for library services is $2.2m every year ongoing - the levee funding will be a one-off payment for construction.

"Council's contribution of $2.2m for the Drummond Dr/Penny Rd component of the flood mitigation strategy was endorsed by all councillors.

"The issue of a rate rise for this project was not even discussed at the time because, like the levee, it will have no effect on rates if paid from council reserves. If I can make this comment: the majority of home owners in our region will have home and contents insurance.

"I see the levee as nothing more than sound insurance against flood waters up to a level of 22m from entering our CBD. It will provide protection or insurance against floods 365 days a year for many, many decades to come."

Cr Ian Petersen said he would " certainly not" be voting for a levee.

"I think community-wide benefit can be obtained by converting the few very low businesses into parking," Cr Petersen said.

"I also believe we should be looking at some of the worst of the urban storm water problems we have (as most of the Ipswich funding was utilised to address similar problems there).

"On a smaller scale but no less importantly we should be seeking to upgrade flood level reporting and warning. For example it is just amazing that the BOM site is unable to give river heights and rate of rise at Imbil.

"I firmly believe that there is more scope for preparedness and resilience than for prevention. We should be seeking as much funding as we can possibly get and we should make sure that it is spent to achieve community-wide benefit."

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