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Byron Shire
March 22, 2023

Great floods Lismore – again

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I’m so sad to hear the horrible ordeal local residents and business owners have faced with the recent floods in the Northern Rivers, especially in Lismore.

My heart goes out to all those who have lost so many precious and dear things in their lives. And many big thanks to the SES services, police, and all the locals helping each other out during this great catastrophe.

So, my question still remains, however, though many people might not even want to consider it yet – like why, again?

Why does this keep happening in Lismore? A town settled since 1856 on the junction of the Wilsons River and Leycester Creek.

A bloody good idea at the time, or do we just have to learn to live with disaster every few years?

In 2017, the disaster happened after Cyclone Debbie. On other occasions as well since the millennium began, in 2005, 2010, and 2012 come to mind. How many beatings does this town need?

Even Rocky Balboa knew, eventually (five sequels later), it was time to hang up the gloves in the end.

More flood gates? More what? C’mon, look at the aerial picture and layout of the river junction adjacent to the town.

It might be time to think about a diversion of the river upstream to someplace else, instead of allowing floodwaters into the town every five or so years, destroying people’s livelihoods!

To those in charge of the NSW water infrastructure, isn’t it time to reinvent the wheel with better, longer-lasting ideas?

Or what about putting a long pipe from Lismore down to Lake George in the state’s south?

Or is it simply cheaper to let the town be destroyed once every decade?

On the flip or bright side, it brings community and locals back together once more to help one another. A lifesaver in these changing times of isolation and fear!

Chad Butler, Goonengerry

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  1. Funny you say that Chad.

    There was a proposal put to Lismore council after 1954 flood, to build an overflow channel from Etham to Teven, a distance of some 4kms, that would essentially reduce pressure on the river flow during the current 100km trip to the ocean in the event of flood.

    Pays to also note how close the River comes to the ocean North East of Woodburn, some 38 kms prior to reaching the ocean at Ballina.

    The rock walls that form the Ballina “Bar” were built to stabilise the ocean outlet location, it would move around with varied weather and water flow as nature intended.

    Messing with nature has unintended consequences.

    Personally, I’m more in favour of a land-swap deal for people residing in the affected zones. They are much worse off than they were a fortnight ago, their short and long-term safety has to be the #1 priority.

    Let’s learn from the original locals. They did an incredible job working with the landscape and forces of nature for many thousands of years before we rocked up.

  2. We have played around with nature & damaged what once was. The need
    to quit trying to save money hasn’t worked. All forms of ‘reinventing the
    wheel’ are called for now.

  3. Idea to get the job done. Yeah a straight swap. House on the flats for a house on the hill. No cost to the the owners. Plus enough to buy a decent car cause the old one went under. And replace any tools and household stuff lost.. For what’s left, there on the flood plain , could turn it into refugee temporary housing or even housing for seasonal workers. That’d work pretty good. For our pacific neighbours. They’d like that. Must be a pretty good way to use what’s left there. Someone a lot cleverer than me should be able to figure that out. Otherwise what do we pay them for. For starters, maybe do a voluntary buy back . You gotta tread gently. It’s someone’s home . See what happens after that. As long as the swap is a better deal than what they’ve already got then that could be appealing. They deserve it. Costs a lot of money to buy a house / shed/ factory / workshop , for the worker . But not much for the government.


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