Lismore City Council wants answers as to why the NSW State Emergency Service evacuated the central business district between ‘ten and sixteen hours’ before they should have during the major flood in March.
Cr Bill Moorhouse, who was the chief engineer at the council when the controversial levee was.built in 2005, was last night successful in his call for an inquiry.
Cr Moorhouse believes SES management ‘blew the whistle too soon’.
‘They should have said that we expect the levee to overtop in the early hours of the morning but they didn’t and this cost businesses a lot of money,’ he told Echonetdaily.
‘They followed up their evacuation order by chasing everyone out of town but those who stayed, like Blueys cafe, were back in businesses in no time.
Cr Moorhouse said the levee was designed to stop smaller floods, but also to give the CBD business owners extra time to move stock up before they evacuated.
‘People were still driving fun and out of the CBD on Friday morning yet the levee was overtopped at 4am in the morning,’ he said.
Cr Moorhouse’s motion calling on the Minister of Police and Emergency Services to arrange an independent assessment of the management of the flood was passed unanimously at last night’s meeting.
Mr Moorhouse has accused ‘those in authority’ of either not knowing how the levee was designed to work or simply choosing to ‘do their own thing’.
As for the present rain event, Mr Moorhouse said it was ‘nothing to get excited about’.