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Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

2022 flood & DAs

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At  Byron Council’s meeting on April 18, we didn’t get time to deal with Report 14.1 which contained formal advice to Council from its Floodplain Advisory Committee. That advice was for Council to take into account the flood levels experienced around Byron Shire in February and March 2022, when setting future floor levels for development on our various floodplains.

The staff report to Council suggested not taking the advice and instead persisting with setting floor levels estimated by computer models enshrined in 2020 by the North Byron Flood Study, and in earlier years by flood studies for Belongil and Tallow Creeks.

The recently-released review of the 2022 floods tells us that these computer models are out-of-date and not up to industry standards.

Flood watcher Matthew Lambourne addressed Council on April 18 pointing out that the state’s floodplain manual tells us to use historical data in locations where there is no model.  Extending this approach, we would use historical data where a model can’t provide answers.

Following a question by Councillor Coorey, staff now suggest that the 2022 actual flood levels CAN be used, by re-running the old computer model for the North Byron catchments. The results could then be used to guide development until a new model is produced. I estimate that is at least five years away.

I hope the public will support Cr Coorey on May 23 when the matter of taking the committee’s advice comes back to Council. I hope Council will support the allocation of the $10,000 towards implementing the advice and using ‘the higher of two sets of levels, as the basis for determining flood planning levels: 1. Levels from the three adopted FPMS&P; 2. Levels from a peak water surface established from community data throughout the floodplains (peak levels February and March 2022)’.

Duncan Dey

Flood hydrologist and Byron Shire councillor

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  1. Surely the adoption of KNOWN flood levels compared with inaccurate outdated models is a no-brainer.
    What is wrong with these recalcitrant Council staff who are not just resisting, but opposed to it?
    As for the special allocation of $10K towards implementing said adoption is madness.
    Is it not their job to continually incorporate latest information & best practices on which they base decisions?


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