Gympie Regional Councillor Ian Petersen fears the levee numbers may be overstated.
Gympie Regional Councillor Ian Petersen fears the levee numbers may be overstated. Craig Warhurst

Devil’s in the detail on levee

ANTI-LEVEE councillor Ian Petersen wants to see more detail about the cost-benefit analysis report for the controversial flood mitigation plan.

The proposed levee, a large wall to hold back a 22m flood from inundating Gympie's CBD was back on the council agenda on Wednesday when Cr Petersen tried to stop the plan.

He failed, in a fiery meeting, and was the only councillor to vote against the project.

He wants to see more detail on how the cost-benefit analysis, which suggested the levee was viable, was calculated and hasn't received it from council.

His major concern was the cost-benefit analysis could be biased, with business owners overstating the impact of flooding.

He was also concerned the loss of trade was factored into the figures.

Cr Petersen said even if a levee was built it wouldn't stop the loss of trade because the majority of Gympie would still be cut off from the CBD.

"I believe the numbers are overstated," Cr Petersen said.

"It's human nature to overstate costs; you need to be realistic when looking at the figures.

"I don't think there is enough scrutiny of flood costs and there is insufficient debate on all the options."

Cr Petersen also took offence at claims he was telling lies in the meeting.

"The only lies are telling people it's not going to impact on rates," he said.

"I am 100% behind getting every bit of state and federal money we can get to alleviate flooding in Gympie, but it needs to be done sensibly and look at all the options.

"If the levee blows out by 10% the viability is lost even with their vague figures."

He said councillors Mick Curran, Tony Perrett and Mayor Ron Dyne would do better to think about better options for their constituents on the other side of the river instead of launching personal attacks against him.

Cr Petersen said he was concerned rates in the region were already too high and putting stress on households.

"Rate arrears are a good indicator of how people are having trouble paying rates and they have grown.

"Council has had to introduce tougher collection procedures," he said.

Gympie Times


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