Council cannot sit on its hands and do nothing: Ron Dyne

Mayor Ron Dyne and Premier Campbell Newman inspect flood damage in Mary St after the flood.
Mayor Ron Dyne and Premier Campbell Newman inspect flood damage in Mary St after the flood. Renee Pilcher

A FLOOD mitigation study costing up to $200,000 will be prepared as a matter of urgency in the wake of back-to-back floods that have cost the Gympie region $88 million in repairs in the past two years, and millions more in lost business, wages, primary industry and confidence.

Gympie Regional Council can no longer afford to sit on its hands and do nothing, Mayor Ron Dyne told his council yesterday.

He said, despite being flooded "two-and-a-half times" in the past month alone, Gympie received "diddly squat" last week when Prime Minister Julia Gillard handed out $135 million in special flood relief for Queensland.

The region needed to be armed with a plan next time any flood money was up for grabs, Cr Dyne said.

The council will spend $100,000 on the study, and is counting on the state to honour its pledge to match it dollar for dollar.

"Prior to the flood event of last week, I had met with the Chamber of Commerce, where it was proposed that a steering committee be established involving the chamber to identify the real cost of various flood events to the business and broader community, possible forms of mitigation, improved methods of communication to the community during events and other associated operational matters," Cr Dyne said.

"Since last week's event it has become more apparent that given the community, and in particular the business community, directly and indirectly suffers enormous financial cost, council cannot sit on its hands and do nothing.

"It has a responsibility to seriously investigate whether a business case exists to try and mitigate the impact of flooding. Funding from external sources can only be attracted if a proper mitigation study has been undertaken."

Cr Dyne said that while, technically, anything could be achieved, the options could not be properly evaluated until the cost of flood events to the community was identified.

Only then could a proper cost benefit evaluation be undertaken and the most appropriate form of mitigation, if any, be applied, he said.

The plan was endorsed by the entire council, though Cr Ian Petersen said $200,000 was too much.

Cr Mick Curran said the flood focus had historically been on Mary St but some of the region's biggest businesses were based on the Monkland or that part of town and suffered severe losses when employees and transport could not get in or out.

Cr Mark McDonald said Mary St was still ground zero in a flood, but industry and business across the whole region was impacted, as well as health and education.

Cr Julie Walker said transport, and access to, from and around Gympie, was another major issue. During the recent flood the traffic was backed up for "miles and miles" on the Mary Valley Hwy trying to get to Gympie.

Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett said the western areas of the region - Woolooga, Kilkivan and Goomeri - were also extremely vulnerable to flood and the study must include mitigation options there.

Gympie Times

Topics:  flood mitigation floods gympie gympie regional council ron dyne

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