22 C
Byron Shire
December 3, 2021

Flood risk for Evans Head Iron Gates DA may risk lives

Latest News

Corruption and waste

For many years the corrupt behaviour of our State politicians has been front and centre at the ICAC. Eddie...

Other News

Want to make your own nest box and help with bushfire recovery on Friday?

Conservation Volunteers Australia are running a nest-building workshop in one of Australia’s most biodiverse hotspots, the Nightcap Range, ‘to create homes and hope for wildlife’.

Lismore saw one new case of COVID-19

A new case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Lismore in the 24 hours to 8pm 30 November.

Deconstructing the brand

It is noted that the nine houses on the seafront at Elements, Belongil have been approved by Byron Council....

Minor flooding may occur Friday morning at Coraki and Bungawalbyn

Heavy rainfall on Tuesday and Wednesday have caused river level rises along the Richmond and Wilsons Rivers with the Wilsons...

CWA has ready for the Christmas (w)rap

The Country Women’s Association (CWA) has been supporting women, children and their communities in NSW for almost a century...

The no-dam business case

There are groups standing for election next Saturday who are composed mainly of high profile business people. Many people...

The sensitive site of the controversial planned Iron Gates development. Photo Supplied

The significant flood risks for future residents at the proposed controversial Iron Gates development in Evans Head are being called out by local resident and President of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee Dr Richard Gates.

Richmond Valley LEP wetlands riparian map 2012. Image supplied

‘Why would planning authorities ever consider it to be reasonable to build a large, isolated residential development in such “high risk” country,’ he has asked.

Dr Gates asserts that the flood assessments for the development application (DA) are inadequate and that building on the site will expose people to significant risk of both flooding and bushfire.

Iron Gates wetlands January 2005. Image supplied

‘Part of the land on which residential development has been proposed for the Iron Gates at Evans Head is a SEPP 14 Wetland and flood plain. The one kilometre access road to the proposed development runs through wetlands and is prone to flooding. Photographic and other evidence show that part of the land proposed for residential development is also prone to flooding,’ he said.

‘The problem is potentially far worse than the current 2014 flood mapping for the Evans River suggests as the defined catchment area from formal study for flooding falls far short of the actual known catchment area.’

Flood plain flows for Iron Gates based on Six Maps.

Dr Gates is calling for a recalculation of the flood risk for the Iron Gates site as the catchment boundary for it ‘fails to take account of a very large runoff catchment from the aerodrome itself and SEPP 14 Wetlands to the north and west of the Aerodrome. This runoff all flows through the wetland system adjacent to and on the Iron Gates Estate.’

Significant errors have been seen previously in relation to the catchment and flow directions for flooding in work commissioned by Richmond Valley Council (RVC) that led to RVC deciding to release partially treated effluent from the Evans Head sewerage treatment plant onto the active airfield at Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome. This was a result of the failure of the consultant to do a site visit. They had calculated the direction of water flows on the airfield in the opposite direction to actual flows. The proposed irrigation they had suggested would also have destroyed the existing drainage structures on the Aerodrome built during WWII.

Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee wetlands. Image supplied

‘In our own research we were able to show that water to the west of the main north-south runway ran into a large manmade canal which had been dug along the western boundary of the airfield. That water then flowed into a waterway which ran under the Woodburn Evans Head Road and into the catchment which ran past the Iron Gates, one of two feeder waterways into that catchment.’

This work by the local community was able to stop the proposed release of partially treated effluent, destruction of the existing drainage structures and pollution of waterways containing endangered fish species.

Accurate flood assessment needed

Dr Gates said ‘that there needs to be a recalculation of the contribution of the additional catchment flows running through the Iron Gates and surrounding areas with particular attention to the changes in the flood regime with the drains dug by the developer filled in as per Land & Environment Court Order from 1997.

Some of the drains that the developer was ordered to fill that still haven’t been done over twenty years later. Photo supplied

‘We already know that the Iron Gates floods even with the developer drain in place. That diagnosis will be much worse with the drain filled in.

‘Part of that reassessment must include the one kilometre access road to the Iron Gates which runs through wetlands. We know it floods. Existing study shows this to be the case.’

Land around Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome. Photo supplied

Buy back the land

Dr Gates says the State government needs to buy back the land and make it part of the surrounding National Park.

‘This is a no brainer from a planning perspective. Why would planning authorities ever consider it to be reasonable to build a large, isolated residential development in such ‘high risk’ country. The land should never have been considered for residential zoning in the first place. The rezoning occurred during the ‘white shoe brigade’ era when a lot of planning ‘mistakes’ were made.

‘The land must be rezoned and bought back from the developer by the State government to be included in the National Parks Estate. The area is a ‘wildlife corridor’ and an important cultural heritage site for the Bundjalung Nation. The buyback price should be for the unimproved capital value of the land, around $4 million, less the cost of rehabilitation of the land as per Land & Environment Court Order from 1997 estimated to be $2 million,’ he said.

Previous articleGreenwashed Byron
Next articleAlstonville upgrade

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.


  1. “Don’t cling to a mistake, just because you spent a lot of time making it.”
    High time this developer cut his losses and returned this land to the State.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

New COVID exposure site on the Gold Coast

Queensland Health says that a public health alert is being issued for contact tracing locations on the Gold Coast.

Aussies got drunk more than any other country during the pandemic (are we surprised?)

The Global Drug Survey 2021, released yesterday, reveals that Australians got drunk the most during 2020 and that drug and alcohol habits changed during the...

Nothing cute about the Frogbit alien invasion

Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) is an invasive, smothering waterweed that poses a serious environmental threat which has been found in the Richmond River and at Chinderah.

A little rail tale

There is still a chance to save our wonderful railway line between Casino and Murwillumbah, especially in the Byron Shire, from being demolished, if...