Dr Sonia Laverty, Convener MRA
Despite the rain, or maybe because of it, the public meeting on 12 February at Mullum Ex-Services Club on Council’s Floodplain Management process was attended by over 70 local residents. The meeting was organised by Mullumbimby Residents Association (MRA) to inform residents of the process, to outline content and recommendations of the draft plan now on exhibition, and to encourage people to submit their experiences and concerns to Council by 21 February.
The most recent flood event in north Byron Shire, influenced by ex-cyclone Debbie in 2017, was an experience shared by many at the meeting with memories of waking up with flood water through their homes where it had never been before. That there was no flood warning and no help available when it occurred was an experience shared by many at the meeting. Thankfully, the draft plan recommends a new style of warning system and re-thinks on emergency management.
It was no surprise to learn, at the meeting, that the Study and Plan identify Mullumbimby as the most flood affected town in North Byron Shire.
A position shared by many at the meeting was that the safety of existing residents must take priority over pandering to new development. ‘No-Fill zones’ are a strategic necessity in and around Mullumbimby, to prevent increased flooding. Other mitigation options supported in the plan include larger openings through the railway embankment south of Saltwater Creek and widening of Kings Creek Bridge on Mullumbimby Road.