Cr Petersen: business buyout better solution than levee

AN EXCERPT from Cr Ian Petersen's (pictured right) argument that Gympie Regional Council not pursues funding for a "dam" across the touch football fields to protect the CBD from floods up to 22m.

"I have put forward this motion to give councillors the opportunity for further consideration and options to avoid making a decision that has huge financial and social equity risk, lacks community support apart from some of the businesses that would benefit," he said.

"Even some of them don't believe the proposal is sensible.

"I would support the proposed levee if the cost benefit analysis had some rigour - but it does not.

"I would support the proposed levee if it would provide region-wide community benefit - but it will not.

"I would support the proposed levee if it could flood proof Gympie - but it will not.

"I would support the proposed levee if there were no better options for investing public money but there are."

Cr Petersen said, though Mary St businesses had his "unqualified sympathy" the biggest impact of the floods on CBD businesses was the loss of turnover, which would still happen with a levee.

"Mary St would still be isolated from a large customer base at Southside and from untold numbers outside Gympie City.

"Turnover drops in times of flood or even extreme wet weather. Loss of turnover will happen with or without the dam."

A much better way to help Mary St and to invest public money would be a limited buyout of a few of the lowest properties to create additional parking and an attractive entry statement for Mary St, he said.

"That would provide benefit to the whole community and the Mary St traders for 365 days of every year rather than for four or five days every 10 years. Even at the lowest level of flooding, on average, for 1640 days out of every 1645 days, a $23.5 million dam would be sitting there doing nothing, and Mary St traders would still be handicapped by inadequate parking."

Gympie Times


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