The East Bundaberg Flood Levee map outlined by the State Government.
The East Bundaberg Flood Levee map outlined by the State Government.

Q&A: Flood proofing Bundaberg

THERE are eight days to go until the local government election.

20 of the Bundaberg candidates have given us insight into their views, by taking the time to answer questions about subjects relevant to the council and the region.

This is the fourth question in our series.

“In theory, the 10 year flood management plan should be rolled out by the end of the next council term. Is a flood levee the best solution for flood mitigation?”

Mayoral candidates

Helen Blackburn

I do not believe a flood levee is necessary or warranted for the region.

Flood gates absolutely would help with rain events and low level flooding but the residents who were most affected by flooding are those in the North Bundaberg areas and a levee will not assist them at all.

In fact it could be quite the opposite.

Jack Dempsey

The lack of flood protection is a disincentive to investment.

I support the process the State Government has undertaken and the recommendations.

I call on Labor and LNP to both commit to implementing the flood action plan within the next two years.

Kirt Anthony

State Government has put in a great effort on hearing about the people being severely affected by flooding.

I believe with my reports you can get the 10 year action plan for flooding mitigation sped up, alongside Paradise Dam.

In this Bundaberg Regional Council economy, growth of approving new buildings and road infrastructures affect the old drainage infrastructure, causing liability concerns into places of livings, people and assets.

Bundaberg Regional Council could be held liable.

Division 1

Jason Bartels

If re-elected I will continue to work with the State Government to ensure that all flood mitigation measures that are proposed are implemented in a methodical and timely way.

Scott Allison

There is no one solution for flood mitigation in Bundaberg.

Certainly a flood levee for parts of the river will help but we also need to look at some of the inlets that let the water into parts of the city, evacuation routes, early monitoring and future planning development approvals.

Peter Wyatt

You use the word ‘should’. I haven’t seen the plan.

Division 3

Wayne Honor

The East flood levee is one option of many assessed by State Government as an effective way of protecting a large amount of homes and infrastructure. This is only one part of flood mitigation planning that should be implemented ASAP.

David Ferguson

The proposed levee system only provides a solution for East and some of South Bundaberg. My fear is that in an extreme event, such as a cyclone, if power supply is lost, the pumps at Saltwater Creek couldn’t work, creating an even worse disaster behind the levee.

Buy back of the most flood prone properties appears to be the only sensible solution.

Again, funding would be needed from the higher levels of government.

Paul Bongioletti

We are not going to flood proof Bundaberg.

I feel money would be better spent lifting property where feasible or protecting important assets.

Division 4

John Valuch

Councillors are not scientists or engineers, so therefore the answer lies in getting the best advice.

The common sense approach is that in a big flood, the river will run where it used to run, before changes were made to its direction and flow.

Discouraging rebuilding in areas that were most affected in the last flood is probably the smartest long term option, but not necessarily the easiest.

Tracey McPhee

Good question! I’m not a flood expert nor am I aware of the other options available to us, other then a flood levee.

Flood levees have been proven to work in other towns and cities around the world. Not having been part of these talks I’m unable to make an informed decision.

Tanya Lee Jones

As a member of the public. There was a lot of discussion, meetings and suggestions. But there appears no logical outcome that I am aware of. As a substantial area of Division 4 was affected, it will be one of my priorities to seek the answers and get something actually implemented.

Division 5

Beau Jansen

A flood levee is only part of the solution.

Many areas in division 5 are impacted during rain events, particularly residents at Innes Park North. As a council team we need to focus on working with the relevant government bodies to flood proof our region as best we can.

Division 6

Tanya McLoughlin

It’s now six years since the floods and there has been two detailed studies into options. Funding projects is well overdue. Both studies found the levee/wall protecting east and south Bundaberg will save hundreds of homes and businesses.

It’s time for both Labor and the LNP to commit to it instead of talking about it.

Division 7

Vince Habermann

I am no expert in the best flood mitigation project for Bundaberg but from my knowledge, a flood levee on its own is not the answer as while it may protect a certain area, it would also push more water into other areas and cause greater flooding in them.

Joseph Ellul

When considering flood mitigation and dam control there would be experts involved in this and I would be seeking professional advice in the safety of Bundaberg and its citizens. Multiple factors need to be considered. Road access as a means of escape route during a flood crisis would be necessary, along with where evacuation centres are housed, as a starting point. The main focus would be to have a plan in place that has included the relevant experts in this field.

Mitch Pukallus

It is difficult to see the benefits of a flood levee without seeing the flood management plan in its entirety.

A number of educated and informed Bundaberg people have made note that the placing of a bank will do little to stop flooding of the region if and when we experience another event like the 2013 floods, and I tend to agree with their views.

Division 8

Steve Cooper

As a member of the community reference group I was very heavily involved in the recommendations to the council and the State Government of the day.

The east levee has come through rigorous scrutiny by many experts, it offers the best return for the community.

Many projects are reliant on this happening.

Division 9

Geoff Augutis

We need flood protection to give certainty around current and future investments.

East Bundaberg is in my division and I welcome the surety a levee would give this important area.

Chris Foley

Until we can determine anything else, it is the best idea we have.

Division 10

Tim Sayre

“In theory” is a great way to describe this.

The last update on the project’s website was December 17, 2018, and while the site tells us that engagement will continue in 2019, I don’t believe this has happened.

From the independent reports and reviews, a levee and flood gates are one of the four options under consideration, and while it might not be a perfect solution, it is probably the best option under consideration, if it ever happens.

Bundaberg candidates who have not responded include: Bill Trevor (confirmed Div 2 councillor), Greg Barnes (Div 2 incumbent), Kelly Woods (Div 6), Ramon Creevey (Div 7), May Mitchell (Div 9), and John Learmonth (Div 10 incumbent). The NewsMail would value their insight.

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