In the flurry following last week’s flood event, Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg told media that there will be a new levee for Lismore as well as remodelling of the Wilsons River.
In Sunday’s Sydney Morning Herald Mayor Krieg said that ‘Council has unreleased plans to raise the existing levee on the eastern bank of the Wilson’s River and build another levee on the Western side.’
He also said that excavating existing river bends would help speed up the exit of floodwater from the city. ‘If we don’t do it we die as a city. Simple as that.’
Lismore Floodplain Management Committee
Lismore Councillor Vanessa Ekins who has been on the Lismore Floodplain Management Committee for many years says that Cr Krieg had outlined some of the options. ‘These are mitigation options explored by the floodplain committee and several options have been put on public display for comment.
‘The most viable options include removing the railway viaduct in south Lismore, lowering the riverbank south of Albert Park and widening causeways under the Bruxner Highway.
No effect in major flood
‘It is important to note that none of these strategies will have any effect in a major flood like the one we have just experienced. These mitigation strategies are to minimise the impact of minor and moderate flooding.’
Cr Ekins said we need other strategies for major floods, like, evacuating every time. ‘These are the conversations we will need to have with our community soon. It is not the Mayor’s decision and there is a lot of technical information that needs to be comprehended.
‘I chaired the Floodplain Committee and we worked hard on understanding how water moves through the floodplain and what infrastructure is possible. A bigger levee is expensive and extremely dangerous for everyone living in the floodplain and downstream of Lismore – they were rejected because building levees just forces more water onto people’s homes in north and south Lismore.’
People downstream are worried
Cr Ekins said the excavation of existing river bends has already been done outside Bunnings and there is a proposal for south of Albert Park. ‘But, the people downstream are worried that it sends water faster to them, and rightly so.’
Cr Ekins said that specialist engineers were engaged and the floodplain spent three years researching strategies for minor and moderate flooding.
‘There is nothing we can do about major floods.’