Strelow powers ahead with flood levee
SINCE 1992, debate has raged about the potential construction of a flood levee in south Rockhampton - but the matter is finally coming to a head and construction of a levee bank could start next year.
Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow has revealed the 2017/18 Rockhampton Regional Council Budget to be handed down later this month will fund the first steps towards the $60-million South Rockhampton Flood Levee construction.
These steps include a formal application to the Queensland Government for development approval, land acquisition and negotiations with affected landholders.
Cr Strelow revealed the move following confusion regarding the purpose of a flood levee phone survey to be conducted by Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry, starting this week.
"It's important to remember that Michelle Landry's survey is her mechanism to decide whether she will personally approve the release of the Federal Government's contribution,” Cr Strelow said.
"The Council has done its own consultation. Our 17/18 Budget funds the first steps which includes a formal application to the State for development approval, land acquisition and negotiations with affected landowners.
"Delivery will be a staged process anyway (see Staging Scenario at bottom of story), Michelle's decision really determines how quickly we move through those stages.”
Cr Strelow said the State Government had committed to working with Rockhampton Regional Council and there was a commitment of Federal funding should there be a change of government.
During the Rockhampton flood earlier this year, Federal Opposition leader Bill Shorten promised $25million for the project if he wins government at the next election, while the Palaszczuk Government has pledged $25million and RRC will contribute $10million.
Cr Strelow said the levee was a 'no-brainer' and in a best case scenario, it could be built during 2018.
"Every time we flood, we suffer. Businesses along Gladstone Rd suffer and now those along the highway diversion route also suffer - businesses that would not normally expect to be impacted by flooding. There are two primary schools, Depot Hill and Port Curtis that close and approximately 2000 people don't get to go to work,” she said.
"We know that this is the most cost effective and efficient way of delivery a flood-free Bruce Hwy as it passes through Rockhampton.
"Approximately 13% of our urban area floods and between the two levees, South Rockhampton and the next stage of the North Rockhampton levee, we can protect between 65-70% of those flooded properties and that is before we do any further modelling work to see what's the best case we can with the airport one as well.”
Addressing concerns regarding where floodwaters would go after the construction of the South Rockhampton Flood Levee, Cr Strelow said no areas which are currently dry would become wet.
"The extra water would be deepest in the Yeppen Lagoons (an extra 30cm on top of an existing four-metre-deep lagoon) and to a much lesser extent (average 7.5cm) to some rural properties on the Yeppen floodplain,” she said.
"There are seven houses (in a 9.6m flood) that would get more than 2cm of extra water inside the house.
"Council will renew our conversation with these owners and with other properties that get extra water on the land if we are successful in obtaining funding.”
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry, whose flood levee phone survey begins tonight, questioned how RRC intended to pay for the remaining $25million if they went ahead with the project and the Federal Government decided against funding it.
"I'm not going to be pushed around by the mayor or the Labor Party; I want to do the right thing by the people of Rockhampton,” Ms Landry said.
"I don't think you can be reliant that I lose my seat for the mayor to get her levee bank.
"If she is saying she is going to go ahead whether the Federal Government puts money on the table or not, that's $35million, you have to ask the question, do the Rockhampton ratepayers want to pay for that?
"I want to know, if the Federal Government isn't putting $25million on the table, where is the $25million coming from? Are the ratepayers of Rockhampton having to pay for that?
"People are concerned about how much it's actually going to cost the ratepayer,” Ms Landry said.
Ms Landry said no consultation had been done with the community since the feasibility study was conducted in 2014 and more needed to be done before the project goes ahead.
"This is about listening to the people and I just think they have to listen to the people and do more community consultation,” she said.
"We will do this properly. I have spoken to the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister about it as well as Matt Canavan and we are working towards getting the right outcome for the people of Rockhampton.”
- A. Construction and installation of the backflow prevention valves along Quay Street, the diversion of the piped drainage at Wood-Wharf Street, construction of the diversion drain at Lucius-Wharf Street and STP Outlet Diversion.
- B. Development approval and acquire whole corridor
- C. Construct the levee from the Bruce Highway to Port Curtis Road (excluding the vinyl sheet piling). Construct the Hasting Deering Pump Station.
- D. Construct the levee from Quay Street extended to the CBD (excluding the vinyl sheet piling and temporary levee foundations and sections). Construct the Main Drain Pump Station.
- E. Install the vinyl sheet piling from the Bruce Highway to Port Curtis Road, and where required, from Quay Street extended to the CBD.
- F. Purchase temporary levee components and construct foundations from Quay Street extended to the CBD.
- G. Construct the levee to full height (including vinyl sheet piling) from the Port Curtis Road to Quay Street extended excluding rock protection on the wet side of the spillway and with only a single layer of rock mattresses on the dry side. Construct pump stations at Fiddes Street.
- H. Install remaining rock protection works on the Spillway (wet side of the spillway and second layer of rock mattresses on the dry side).
- I. Chip-seal the levee embankment crest from the Bruce Highway to Quay Street extended.
- J. Undertake landscaping, public access and beautification works as funds permit.