The old Pacific Highway was dangerous, narrow and needed to be upgraded but in the process of building the M1 the government didn’t just cut coastal koalas from hinterland koalas, they also appear to have created flooding issues according to many locals from Woodburn to Tweed.
At the recent Tweed Shire Council meeting, a Late Mayoral Minute was passed to write to ‘the NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads and asks the state government to review the potential impacts of the constructed M1 on flooding in the Tweed Shire’ and ‘if there are impacts then asks them to investigate whether flood mitigation measures could be put in place within the M1 road reserves to improve flood outcomes in the Tweed, particularly for the villages of Tumbulgum, Crabbes Creek, Mooball and Burringbar and in the Chinderah / Kingscliff region’.
‘The perception in the community that the M1 may be impacting on the flood flows within our shire,’ explained Tweed Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) as she spoke in support of the Mayoral minute.
‘I attended the Tumbulgum Community Association meeting a couple of weeks back and there is certainly quite a strong belief there that since the construction of the M1 flooding behaviour has changed in the area for them. I know that there is a belief of the same around Crabbes Creek, Burringbar and Mooball.
‘This is a proposal to write to the NSW Minister of Regional Transport and Roads and ask that the State Government review any potential impacts that the building of the M1 has on flooding in the Tweed Shire. And if there are any, that they have a look at what they can put in place to improve any flood outcomes along the floodplain there.
‘I did just attend a meeting with the Minsiter for Transport and they are quite aware of concerns out there in the community about the M1, they are aware of the places where the M1 was cut during the recent flood and the need to place attention on those. At a time when they might be considering doing works to improve the flood, the ability to be outside a flood for the M1 they can look also look at improved mitigation of flood impacts themselves.’
Councillor Meredith Dennis (Independent) also spoke in support of the minute telling the meeting that ‘here has been a lot of talk particularly in areas like Wardell, Braodwater and villages down there. So I think it is certainly an appropriate note to be going out.’
‘There is a lot of talk pertaining to this issues around community in Woodburn and Coraki as well,’ said Councillor Rhiannin Brinsmead (Liberal).
‘I know those communities are calling on the Federal Member of Page to take that fight up for them.’
Class action and 8,000 votes
The Save Our Rivers Towns (SORT) is a lobby group recently started up by a group of people in Woodbrun. They are seeking to put together a class action in relation to the flooding impacts of the M1 and ‘to help everybody who has been affected by the catastrophic floods in the electorates of Page and Richmond,’ said Nicholas Crouch who is working with the group.
‘The Woodburn/M1 class action litigation has not stopped. We have lawyers working on this. It’s early days but we think the matter has merit,’ he said in a press release.
‘This class action is limited to residents affected by the M1, and is not open to all flood survivors. This covers residents from Woodburn to Ballina or thereabouts, depending on the hydrology reports. But right now, while we have this big opportunity to make an impact for our community using the upcoming elections, our focus needs to be on political lobbying. Our focus is to get 8,000 voters across both the electorates of Page and Richmond to sign up and vote for the candidate who offers flood survivors the most money and assistance.’
They are aiming to get 8,000 voters registered by 30 April and then they will ‘contact all election candidates and demonstrate that we have a voting power with substance’.
They are looking to all residents throughout both electorates to join th ecampaign regardless of political affilitation as they say they are ‘a single issue, nonpolitical, unsubsidised grassroots community lobby group trying to help the flood victims/survivors’.
If you are from Lismore, Ballina, Grafton, Kyogle, Casino, Evans Head, Iluka, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah, Yamba, Lennox, and all the towns in between they want you to get on board and jooin their campaign.
‘We want all our members to vote at the election for the candidate who offers the communities flood victims/survivors the most money and assistance before the election. We think all the candidates running in the election will want our 8,000 votes to win their seat. If the candidates see we have 8,000 people ready to vote for or against them they will find more money. It’s a simple strategy.’