Opinions were divided on whether or not a flood levee should be built.
Opinions were divided on whether or not a flood levee should be built. Sharyn O'Neill ROK110514slevee1

REVEALED: What swayed Landry on the flood levee debate

IT was the news that caused the Rockhampton mayor to cut her holiday in Vietnam short, such was her excitement at funding approval for the South Rockhampton Flood Levee project.

Margaret Strelow had fought for years and, for a long while, in the face of opposition from Capricornia MP, Michelle Landry.

Ms Landry was not willing to commit based on a concerted lobby opposing the construction of a levee bank.

But in the end she was swayed and changed her mind to give the project full support.

Yesterday she spoke for the first time about the reasons behind her shift in opinion.

 

Capricornia MP Michelle Landry
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry Leighton Smith

Ms Landry said she had been hesitant based on the number of people who contacted her office with concerns about the impact of a levee bank and put a lot of effort into investigating other areas that could be impacted by extra water.

After a lot of meetings with the council she was reassured the water would cause only minimal problems in other areas.

 

The proposed South Rockhampton flood levee.
The proposed South Rockhampton flood levee. RRC

"A lot of things swayed me on this," she said.

"A lot of my concerns were alleviated and we had a public forum," she said.

"It's important to protect homes and it's important to protect the Bruce Highway.

"The Federal Government put $170million into protecting Yeppen.

"It was successful but there was at bottleneck on Upper Dawson Rd.

"We need to keep the highway open but to raise the Bruce Highway along Gladstone Rd was going to cost over $40million and cause more flooding.

"So that was not an option."

 

Ferried passengers arrive Symons Chemist at the corner of East and William Streets in Rockhampton during the 1918 Great Flood.
Ferried passengers arrive Symons Chemist at the corner of East and William Streets in Rockhampton during the 1918 Great Flood.

She said another real concern was flooding to Hastings Deering which employed hundreds of people and injected tens of millions of dollars into the economy each year.

Every time the Fitzroy floods to cost to the company runs into the millions.

 

The Fitzroy River spills into the lower lying parts of Depot Hill in 2011.
The Fitzroy River spills into the lower lying parts of Depot Hill in 2011. Chris Ison

"Another concern people had was the pump ... but I am assured it will be sufficient," Ms Landry said.

"This is an extremely important project for the whole of the region, for the whole of Central Queensland.

"Council have to do a business case, which is now completed and I'm confident it will proceed.

"Only 16 projects around Australia were approved under the Regional Growth Fund.

"We worked damned hard to get this up."



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