Leyland is not a fan of the levee
LEYLAND Barnett has been a vocal opponent of the South Rockhampton Flood Levee for several years and he thinks our money could be better spent in ways other than pushing ahead with the construction.
Evolution and Training Driving School owner Mr Barnett, who has lived in Rockhampton for more than 20 years and ran for the council in the 2016 election, is concerned the cost of rates and ramifications of the levee construction project haven't been fully considered.
Mr Barnett said he has seen a steady rise in his rates bill over the past 20 years and the costs associated with the levee could have a negative impact on the bank balances of the community.
"A lot of people bought into those areas knowing full well that those areas do flood from time to time,” he said.
He said we had no idea how much it was going to cost to run and maintain the proposed pumping station and associated generators or how much it will cost to maintain the interconnected sections of the levee bank.
"I'm concerned with the overall cost to our ratepayers in regards to the cost of building the bank and maintenance of the levee bank once it is constructed,” he said.
"Regardless of whether it floods or not, it's going to cost the ratepayers in maintenance costs to maintain its effectiveness and keep it within design standards.
"I do know urban banks will slump for a period of time and you've got to allow for that slump and also you've got to prevent the core of the bank from drying out.”
Mr Barnett warned there was the potential for waste and cost blow-outs creating extra pressure on already stretched household budgets, including increasing electricity, fuel and insurance costs.
Every time there is a new flooding event, watercourses are altered by sandbars, MrBarnett said, and consequently we can't say with any certainty how the water would be displaced by the levee bank.
"Where will the water be displaced to? That keeps getting brought up all the time but every flood is different so how can they rely on the accuracy of these hydrology reports they come up with?” Mr Barnett said.
He warned from an aesthetic perspective having a large levee bank built around Rockhampton could act as a visual deterrent to potential investment in the region.
Plus there was a negative economic impact on businesses by continuing to bring up debate about flooding and the levee bank, Mr Barnett said.
"Every time we bring the levee bank discussion up, it's putting people's minds back to the floods,” he said.