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Byron Shire
April 19, 2021

Byron Council needs flood mitigation program

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Geoff Davis, Mullumbimby.

At the meeting at the Mullum Ex Services on September 19, organised by the Mullumbimby Residents Association and the SES, a recurring theme was the state of our stormwater drains and dismay and frustration that there is no action or intention by Council to keep them clear.

In Mullumbimby we need a regular program of maintenance of this important part of our infrastructure. A cursory inspection shows sections of drains overgrown with grasses, weeds and bamboo. Keeping our waterways, stormwater drains and pipes in good order is an obvious step to take and will mitigate the impact of flood events. As a result of a dry winter, trees are shedding leaves and a great deal of organic material will find its way into the waterways when the rains arrive. The time to act is now.

The railway line is my other concern. During the March flood the water levels rose to the level of the railway lines. North of Woolworths, there is clear evidence of large amounts of ballast that has been swept from under the tracks to the eastern side. The culvert under the section of line opposite Mill Street has some time ago been sandbagged impeding water from flowing under the line to the eastern side of town. Who was responsible for this? The large open storm water drain on railway land on the western side and adjacent to the track was designed to divert storm water north towards the river. At the time of the March flood it was choked with advanced trees, weeds and a huge amount of dumped garbage. The recent flood levels in Station Street and elsewhere in Mullum have been significantly affected by the blocked culvert and the lack of maintenance of the vegetation along the railway corridor.









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  1. The situation with waterways and infrastructure that Mr Davis describes in Mullumbimby has parallels in the town and rural places of Byron Bay. Maybe there are variations of these dilemmas throughout the Shire.

    Would you want to do something about it? Working with residents and council, our non-profit group WaterPlaces is supporting a way forward: community-based surveys, water quality monitoring and action plans about these water places. We help you, your neighbourhood and/or group develop critical knowledge and plan actions: Which people and places? What are current conditions: water quality measured by using digital meters and assessing ‘waterbugs’? How did this happen: what is the history? What are the next steps required for that water place?

    Find out more about how you can join this programme. An free introduction to the programme and training course is on Saturday 14 Oct from 9am -1pm at the West Byron Integrated Water Management Reserve (the wetlands of the sewage treatment plant near the IGA off Bayshore Drive). Send an email asap to me at [email protected] to reserve your place. Contact me if you have any questions. If you have a already have a group in your neighbourhood, perhaps one of your members could come along and find out more.

    The programme, as per plans underway now, will be launched in 2018.
    Please join us for the introduction and help us refine the programme
    to best suit our community and our water places.


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