Gympie ratepayer says new flood levels cost him thousands
HUNDREDS of Gympie home owners looking to sell face a big hurdle after a flood immunity level of 1 in 100 was introduced in 2013 following significant flooding in the region.
Self-funded retiree Herman Twikler said this week he bought his property at 6 Grice Crescent in 2011, and was told by council officers that the flood immunity level was 1 in 50.
Two years later, Gympie Regional Council changed the planning scheme to introduce a requirement for all new residential buildings to be built above the 1 in 100 year flood level.
When Mr Twikler put his property on the market last year, he was advised by a real estate agent not to sell because of that flood level.
"I was pretty annoyed because I wasn't even told (about the new flood levels),” he said.
"It's just so wrong especially after council reassured me there were no problems and that's the part that got to me too.
"It's like, 'I went to you, asked you for approval and bought it'. If council told me to be wary I wouldn't have bought it. What do you do?”
A council spokeswoman said the community was notified of the proposed new flood maps before the level changed.
"The 2013 planning scheme was advertised for public comment in accordance with State Government requirements, where all landowners were able to view the proposed new flooding maps,” the spokeswoman said.
Mr Twikler said he was disappointed to find out his property had not gone up in value for the past eight years.
"It just irks me that I am going to have to sell it for the price I paid for it,” he said.
"What if a flood never happens? What happens to property owners who are located in the flood zone? We are stuck with properties we can't sell.
"If I say I want a rate reduction, council won't accept it. Some of the land valuations for other properties have gone up in value, but anything in the flood area won't.”
Another Gympie resident, Bevan Smithers, said a similar thing happened to him.
"When this Q-100 business thing came up, this lady was having all sorts of trouble similar to Herman and I went down to the planning department and argued my case. They had the zoning map there,” he said.
"I said to the council officer, 'Is this the latest zoning map?' and he responded with, 'yes'.
"I had a look at where my place was and it had been rezoned. I was never notified and I had no opportunity to object.”
Mr Smithers said he was told by a spokesman the council was not obliged to notify property owners if a change took place.