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September 17, 2021

Tweed floodplain plan ‘increases risk’

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It is extremely concerning to me that the cumulative development scenario proposed in the Tweed Valley Flooplain Risk Management Plan (TVFRMP), adopted at last Thursday’s Tweed Shire Council meeting, will exacerbate the already significant existing risks and impacts to the community, infrastructure, and riverbank erosion.

This shire already has one of the highest average annual costs for flooding disaster in NSW.

An increase of 35mm for the existing urban areas and 100mm for rural properties is proposed by the plan as an acceptable impact.

I question whether affected residents in the shire would agree that such impacts would be acceptable and I am not convinced council has properly communicated the significance of this policy to the community during the public exhibition period.

An estimated 1,545 properties across the Shire would be affected on average by 28/29mm from the proposed development scenario in the one per cent ARI flood and 369 urban properties would be affected by more than 35mm.

In light of the numerous residents that would potentially be cut off from emergency assistance during floods, and the increased risks of fire, accidents, medical emergencies etc that are consistently raised as of extreme concern by the SES for our highly vulnerable area, it seems that this is a matter of life and death, not just mere inconvenience or economic pain.

Is it acceptable to allow developers to reap the benefits at the expense of the existing community in this way? This is a social justice and equity issue.

The NSW Floodplain Manual states that ‘future development types may be included in the plan, if they are acceptable, or if compensatory measures are both fully investigated (considering environmental, cultural, social, economic and flooding issues) and implemented to overcome the problems identified’.

The Tweed Flood Risk Plan does not outline what ‘compensatory measures’ or a ‘no adverse impact policy’ might entail.

The adoption of a ‘No Adverse Impact’ policy is the only way to eliminate risk the risk of Council being sued by affected residents.

It seems to me that council should be opting to ‘investigate and implement compensatory measures’ as a requirement for further development rather than accepting further exposure of our residents to increased flood risks.

Cr Katie Milne, Carool


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