We asked your by-election candidates about the South Rockhampton flood levee.
We asked your by-election candidates about the South Rockhampton flood levee.

Rockhampton mayoral candidates on flood levee

Rockhampton voters will be rich with choice come January 23.

To help electors organise their preferences, we asked mayor hopefuls for a brief outline of their ideas and policies regarding 10 topics of interest.

Over the coming days, The Morning Bulletin will publish their answers.

Any excluded candidates did not respond in time for publication or chose not to comment on the issue at hand.

For the ninth topic, candidates were asked: ‘What needs to be done about the South Rockhampton flood levee project?’

Russell Claus

I don’t support the levee as it has never been adequately assessed for its return on investment.

If protecting Hastings is a primary goal, then that can be accomplished with a smaller bunt wall.

I’m willing to evaluate the pros and cons, but it seems to me a lot of money for little economic and social return. Then there’s the issue of long term maintenance.

To me, the levee is a solution in search of a bigger problem than we have. I can think of many other projects we could be investing in with a far greater return on investment than the levee and as a council it is our responsibility to always be focused on optimal return on investment for projects we support.

Russell Claus.
Russell Claus.

Leyland Barnett

The Fitzroy in flood gives local residents a two-week opportunity to move things out and onto high ground, whereas a levee bank failure can be disastrous with in an hour of a breach.

The bank length goes for over seven kilometres with varying components, including three pump stations with large electric pumps that require three phase power from onsite generators that needs to be maintained.

Before any dirt has been turned the project blew out from $60 million to over $180 million in just two years, and currently the State and Federal Governments have pulled out.

This project is a bottomless pit for wasting taxpayer’s and ratepayer’s money and needs to be immediately dropped.

Any funds saved from dropping this project is redeemed back to the ratepayers with a rates freeze to all of our rate payers not for just 65 per cent in the 2020/21 adopted budget.

Leyland Barnett.
Leyland Barnett.

Shane Latcham

– “Mothballed” until money comes from State and Federal governments.

– RRC spent enough (too much?) on the business case for the levee project.

– Maybe consider option to voluntarily relocate houses to another suitable location if possible (Will need a cost-benefit analysis on viability of such an ambitious project).

Shane Latcham in 2019.
Shane Latcham in 2019.

Christian Shepherd

Without seeing a cost-benefit analysis regarding both the construction, operation, and maintenance, it’s impossible to make a definite decision either way.

With that said, I highly doubt it is a viable project both logistically and economically at this stage. Rockhampton is already massively underdeveloped, particularly on the south side.

I do not see the point in undertaking such an expensive and hydrologically dubious project to unlock lands for development that are even further out of town than those which are already struggling for viability.

If it is potentially viable, I don’t see it being so until Rockhampton has achieved a lot of growth.

Christian Shepherd.
Christian Shepherd.

Remy McCamley

I do not support the South Rockhampton flood levee project and I believe it should be terminated.

The money required for the project could be better spent attracting new business and industry into the Rockhampton region.

Council needs to focus on developing land away from flood zones before gambling on ambitious projects that, even if fully functional, would only benefit a small number of

residences.

The owners of the properties affected by flooding bought land in a flood zones and the land value corresponded with the natural drawbacks associated with the land.

To improve the land at the expense of the ratepayer and the taxpayer is not in the interest of the majority but a small minority. Only when the project can be funded substantially by the affected landowners should the project be revisited.

Remy McCamley.
Remy McCamley.

Donna Kirkland

My family business rents a space within the flood zone so while I have a conflict of interest and cannot comment on the South Rocky flood levee project, I can say that airport flood mitigation is a priority of mine.

Flood-proofing the airport will lead to increased interest from other commercial and international airlines for extended passenger and trade opportunities.

Airline carriers will feel more confident knowing that the airport won’t be closed for weeks on end due to flooding. Fixing this airport issue will boost tourism on both a domestic and international scale and grow agriculture exports directly from Rockhampton.

This is a major growth, safety and security problem that greatly impacts the community so flood mitigation is a solution I want to pursue.

Donna Kirkland.
Donna Kirkland.

Cherie Rutherford

I believe the South Rockhampton flood levee is one of the best legacies we could leave our future generations.

I liken it to the barrage that mayor Rex Pilbeam delivered and we have benefited from ever since.

That said, the costings for the levee are now far more than projected, funding is uncertain, and I believe we need to reassess the project once again before any decision can be made on the projects future.

Cherie Rutherford.
Cherie Rutherford.

Rob Crow

The funding for the proposed flood levee is currently not available and therefore it is much

too costly for the council to pursue at this point on its own.

The appetite for the project to proceed will be pursued with the state and federal Members to see if this is something that can be revitalised at some point in the future.

Rob Crow.
Rob Crow.

Christopher Davies

Without having expert knowledge of this project, it is hard to voice an opinion on this; however, I believe that the money can be best spent on other areas that need focus in our region.

Protecting our community from natural disaster is an important issue. Areas affected are mostly seen to be prepared for this.

Another option is to take a step back and look at other avenues of flood protection.

Christopher Davies.
Christopher Davies.

John Rewald

Based on my experience during the last floods in keeping floodwaters outside a commercial building, I believe temporary flood prevention measures do work.

The levee bank project is currently dead in the water and is too expensive at this stage, but there are other possible solutions.

Large temporary barriers used in the last flood were a success. Plugging drains needs to be improved and this will minimise pumping and possible property damage.

John Rewald.
John Rewald.

Brett Williams

I see this as we are just going to move the water to somewhere else and then they get flooded, so I hope the engineers have done their job?

Maybe the Council needs to stop approving for houses to be built in flood areas?

They also could look at dredging the river: maybe this would assist in the flow of water.

Brett Williams.
Brett Williams.

Miranda Broadbent

This project was one that divided the region because there was speculation about the driving force for it and who, where, and what was going to benefit from it.

It was going to result in some benefits but was also going to create other issues. The project was not costed properly and therefore was not adequately budgeted, which is disappointing. The flood levee project is not currently planned to proceed but there is other flood mitigation work required on the south side of Rockhampton which should be investigated and if viable, be planned and budgeted appropriately.

Miranda Broadbent.
Miranda Broadbent.

Chris (Pineapple) Hooper

The levee should be scrapped forever.

Chris Hooper.
Chris Hooper.

Nyree Johnson

I grew up in Depot Hill and I know how important the levee bank is to river cities like ours.

I congratulate Michelle Landry for securing funding through the Commonwealth Regional

Growth Fund for this project.

I understand there is a significant funding shortfall for the project and the council is currently unable to provide the additional funds required to see the project delivered.

If elected, I’ll have a briefing on the project from the CEO and work with councillors on

brokering a unified position to resolve this project.

If there is a way to deliver the project within the current funding envelope, then I fully

support it.

Nyree Johnson.
Nyree Johnson.


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