As council awaits the final report before going out to the public to discuss the options available to us on the Brownhill Creek Flood Mitigation plan it is very much in the public focus.
I don’t think I have picked up a copy of the Eastern Courier this year without an article warning the councils they need to get it right.
The development of this plan has been running way longer than I have been on Council but has intensified during my tenure.
During my time on Council I have seen us endure the flood of criticism of the State Government accusing us of taking too long to come up with a solution and threatening to take it out of our hands.
I have seen two floods as separate proposals for a dam were opposed by citizens who live in the Brownhill Creek area. This flood developed into a tsunami as these residents marshaled the whole of the state to oppose any damming for a number of reasons.
The next flood was from those residents who opposed having their streets ripped up to allow for boxed culverts to be constructed to divert stormwater away from the creek where it cannot cope in a 100 year flood. This was a proposal I always knew (given my building background) would not work, there not being enough space amongst the trees, the drains and other services in and around those streets bit we had to explore the option.
The last flood and the waters are still flowing is the reaction of property owners who have the creek in the back yards. This flood is continuing unabated with something being said in public on a regular basis in the lead up to the public consultation.
The flood waters will rise when the plan finally is endorsed for public consultation and I don’t expect that now before Council’s April meeting.
Once the public consultation is complete the 5 councils will then endorse the option they believe is the correct option and all 5 councils must agree for a plan to be implemented.
Of course then it will stall indefinitely, assuming we do come to an agreement, because surprise, surprise, surprise (sorry Gomer Pyle) there is NO funding coming from either the State or the Federal Governments. And may I suggest the Councils cannot afford this on their own.
If it goes ahead funded or not Council is bound to be criticized, if it does not go ahead council is bound to be criticized. And you know what…..after all the reading I have done and the information I have absorbed I honestly wonder after all this time and all this research and the public fighting whether we need to do any of it given the hydrology we are now working with.
Will creek clearing (not creek widening, not culverts, no dams) which should have been enforced a long time ago be all that is required.
Of course if nothing happens because of the opposition to each of the proposals and a 100 year flood causes damage to life and property who will be blamed.