Gympie flood levee back on the table
THE Gympie CBD flood levee is back on the table and Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne says it was never off.
But whether or not the rest of Gympie Regional Council has the appetite to resuscitate the controversial project remains to be seen.
Member for Gympie David Gibson and Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience Minister David Crisafulli appear to have their sights set on something else for the Gympie CBD.
Mr Crisafulli was in Gympie yesterday, pleading with the council to agree on a flood mitigation project for the centre of town and to make an application for part of the $47 million funding available.
Cr Dyne said now that everyone knew the levee would cost about $34 million, it was up to the State Government to decide if it was willing to "back it".
The council dropped the idea when it found out a levee would cost $10 million more than first estimated.
Doing "nothing to protect a town that had suffered so much in recent years" wasn't an option, Mr Crisafulli said.
"The Newman Government will not give up on Gympie and it's up to the council and the community to work together to put forward projects to help ease the risk of flooding," he said.
But the window for Gympie is closing.
The State Government brings down its Budget in the first week of June and intends to announce the successful flood mitigation projects as part of that.
"In my mind Gympie would have to be at the top of our list of priorities in terms of the need to do something," Mr Crisafulli said.
Mitigating flooding in the Gympie CBD "has to be priority numero uno for the region", he said.
"I don't want to see images of the same businesses under water beamed across the nation with the words Gympie In Crisis," the Minister said.
"I don't want Gympie's story to be The Little Town That Keeps Flooding.
"Last year we set aside $5.2 million for flood mitigation works in Gympie, including $2.2 million to upgrade Drummond Drive to Q100 level.
"The remaining $3 million was for initial work on the levee, and despite the recent dry summer, the time to prepare for future floods is now."
Gympie MP David Gibson said the recent community flood forum hosted by The Gympie Times had highlighted options the community felt should be considered now that the levee was no longer possible.
"There was clear and overwhelming support to buy back the most flood-prone properties in the CBD and the creation of more parkland and a transit centre," Mr Gibson said.
The area in question includes Jaycee Way and the bottom end of Mary St between Billy's and the Royal Hotel.
"This shows the community hasn't given up on Gympie either and is willing to explore options to help reduce the impact of flooding," Mr Gibson said.
"This is a unique opportunity to all work together and make the most of the State Government's willingness to look at infrastructure that will strengthen Gympie's resilience to natural disasters."
Mr Crisafulli said the Newman Government was about to embark on the most ambitious infrastructure plan in a generation to protect vulnerable Queensland communities.
"I'm calling on all 77 councils to put forward plans to protect their communities and help make Queensland the most disaster resilient state in Australia."