22.6 C
Byron Shire
March 4, 2021

Calls to focus on future proofing against flood

Latest News

Byron Wildlife Hospital’s DA up for public comment

A development application for the mobile Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital is now before the public.

Other News

Blue-green algae amber alert still active at Uki

Last Thursday Tweed Shire Council issued an amber alert for blue-green algae in the Tweed River at Uki, with Clarrie Hall Dam remaining on a green alert. This morning they say the alerts are still active.

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Dear Brittany

We watched you. We watched you break the silence. We heard the truth shatter like a glass hitting the tiles.

Truth

Dr Matt Landos, East Ballina There is the real news and then there is the fake news. The radio news announced...

Action on Cumbalum Interchange at Ballina?

Following multiple community requests, Cr Phillip Meehan brought a motion to the last Ballina Council meeting calling for additional ramps to be built at the Cumbalum-Pacific Motorway interchange.

Suffolk Park pump track for Cavanbah

Kathy Gleeson, Suffolk Park When I first heard of, and supported, the pump track at the Linda Vidler Park in Suffolk...

Ballina Dragon Boaters win world championships

Shelley Cornish from Tintenbar has won two gold medals in the world indoor rowing championships as well as a world record time, while husband Paul Hurley chimed in with a silver medal.

The slip on Hogans Road photographed immediately after the March floods and once protected by traffic lights. Photo supplied.
The slip on Hogans Road photographed immediately after the March floods and once protected by traffic lights. Photo supplied.

With welcome news that Byron Shire Council have received much-needed state government funds for a North Byron Floodplain Risk Management Study, questions have been raised as to whether preventive disaster preparation should be the focus of governments rather than simply disaster relief.

Parliamentary secretary for the northern NSW, Ben Franklin MLC (Nationals) announced the $130,000 funding grant for Council last week.

Yet as The Echo went to print, the state government Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) were yet to reply as to why the funding for the flood plain management study had taken since June 2016 to approve.

Tweed Shire Council senior staff member David Oxenham, who is chair of the infrastructure, waste and environment sub-committee of the regional flood committee, said that ‘for every $10 they [the government] spend on recovery and restoration for flood events, they are spending $1 on flood management and mitigation.’

Oxenham pointed to the need for both state and federal governments to fund the essential work needed to make roads and other assets able to withstand the effects of disasters, rather than to just bring them back to the previous condition.

He told The Echo, ‘It is about making the assets more resilient. So far, the state and federal governments have said No. We would like them to put their minds to making assets more resilient rather than just replacement,’ he continued.

It’s a position supported by local civil engineer and former Greens councillor Duncan Dey.

‘Policy entrenched in failure’

He told The Echo, ‘In Australia, we spend bugger-all on good planning and heaps on “disaster relief”. Most disasters can be sheeted home to bad planning.’

‘Most other countries allocate 80 per cent of their disaster budget towards better planning and 20 per cent towards restoration.

‘Sadly in Australia we roll out the money when there are extreme weather events rather than planning to avoid building in areas prone to these events. This policy entrenches failure.’  

Euan Ferguson, who co-ordinated the regional flood recovery on behalf of the state government, recently handed back responsibility to local councils. He told The Echo, ‘Flood recovery in the northern rivers is going as well as it could. It is a long-term and complex issue.’

He highlighted the importance of planning in relation to flooding and other disasters that we know will happen again. He also said there is a need for insurance companies to ‘look at what worked and what didn’t.’

‘In my view, there need to be some changes.’

Meanwhile Byron Shire Council have recently replied to questions put forward by a range of community groups since Cyclone Debbie in late March.

Greater education within the community – in conjunction with the SES – was a key aspect in the response provided by Council to the 40-plus questions asked by residents.

However, some locals were hoping for a more pragmatic response.

‘There were people walking around in their pyjamas asking where to go in the middle of the night. We need our local representatives, Council, to look at how you create a central area where people know to go when there is a disaster,’ said one local who asked not to be named.

Another solution, suggested by resident Rebecca Brewin, involves sirens to alert residents that there is imminent flooding.

‘I believe it a more effective solution for the whole catchment than the patchy SMS evacuation message system currently in place.

‘Some residents are not receiving evacuation notices or receiving extremely delayed SMS.’

The Byron Shire Floodplain Risk Management Advisory Committee have also been appointed by Council, with the six members comprising Robyn Bolden, Rebecca Brewin, Susan Skyvington, Steve Keefe, Duncan Dey and Matthew Lambourne.

Ferguson meanwhile highlighted the fact that there is still a range of support available to both individuals and businesses who are struggling since the cyclone.

The Australian Government Disaster Assistance hotline is 1802 266.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Tweed Council staff’s delegated powers debated

The question of what staff and councillors get to decide in relation to development applications was raised by Tweed Councillor Ron Cooper at the last Tweed Shire Council meeting.

Supporting independent news or making fat cats fatter?

The recent skirmish between Facebook and the government is hard to miss, even if you rely on Facebook for your news. But what does it all mean?

Koala groups lobby Tweed MP Geoff Provest for action

Local koala groups have been taking action to protect NSW koalas by meeting with Tweed State Member of Parliament, Geoff Provest seeking his support for action on koala protections and asking him not to support the koala killing legislation his government are putting forward.

Leadership lost

Paul Leitch, Ewingsdale Thanks to Hans Lovejoy for commenting on the proposed Ewingsdale Development (24 February). It is worthwhile noting that with the absence of clear...