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Byron Shire
May 19, 2022

Mullum’s drainage

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Storylines – Stop the rot and take action

Having spent a long time reflecting on the last 13 weeks since the floods devastated our region, many important issues have come to my attention – loss of homes, possessions, safety, schools suspended from flooding, chaos, death, loss of animals, extreme anxiety and desperation, and so much more.

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We are one of many households in Mullum that lost their home and belongings in the February flood. Two months after the event we are still trying to get to grips with the way this has turned our lives upside down.

The impact of an event like this includes shock, the heartbreak of seeing one’s home and sanctuary being taken, and the amount of energy and money it takes to rebuild. We could never have imagined the emotional stress something like this causes, and yet we know we are not alone and are thankful to be in such a united community.

I am aware the unprecedented rainfall and high tides caused this disaster, however, what didn’t help was the appalling state of our drains in Mullum and the lack of Council upkeep of these over the years. My neighbours and I have regularly contacted Council to clear blocked drains, sending photos of overgrown areas that do not allow the rainfall to flow, and these were ignored. It is however interesting to see them attending to these after the flood!

The drains of the lanes behind our home in Argyle Street resemble something from medieval times and I am sure have not been updated in decades. If we pay similar rates to neighbouring towns then why are our drain systems left in such disrepair? I know this didn’t cause the flood but it certainly would have added to the issue. Surely it’s time for Council to address such matters and create systems equal to the other areas of the Shire.

Ross Urwin, Mullumbimby

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  1. Totally agree. Unfortunately too many of the decision makers are focused on issue that will give them ‘brownie points’ rather than the areas of their direct responsibility. “Fixed the drains” does not generate the same kudos as “we have had a meeting about the homeless.”

  2. Possum Shoot Road at Coorabell has been fixed in the past at a great multi million dollar cost.The road was closed for months at a time at least twice in my 30 year old memory here. The last rebuilt was professional and effective.However the drains along it are very poorly maintained ,full of tree branches and tall grass with water often overflowing during storms and damaging the surface of the road. More frequent drain cleaning would prevent further closures and the huge cost of rebuilding the road. Last time I went to the council and complained about the issue about three years ago , it took two months to see any action. In the meantime the road sustained more damage. There have been some impressive road improvements in the shire compering to the neglect of the previous years. Now they ned to be maintained.


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