Council’s engagement team worked collaboratively with a technical consultant to share the draft Study with the community and key stakeholders. During the public exhibition period, 9 September to 8 October 2019, Council sent letters to more than 1,900 residents and property owners in the catchment area inviting them to learn more about the Study. Emails with this information were sent to community, education, Register of Interest (flood), business, government and emergency services’ stakeholders. The information was also available at Council’s Customer Service Centre. Copies of the draft report, a Frequently Asked Questions sheet and Feedback Form were made available at Thirroul Library, and at the information session at Bulli Senior Citizens Centre on 18 September 2019. They were also included on this project webpage. A notice of the exhibition was published in the Advertiser on 18 September 2019. The community was invited to provide feedback via this webpage, Customer Service Centre and at the community information session.
The drop-in information session was attended by 27 community members and there were 15 submissions.
Feedback directly relating to the draft Study focused on whether use of the 1987 Australian Rainfall and Runoff guidelines was appropriate. Concerns were expressed about the accuracy of the flood modelling and how the Blockage Policy was applied. There was a suggestion on how to simplify the use of risk management blockage factors. Clarification regarding hazard mapping was requested. There was a view that the percentage increase in rainfall intensity expected for the worst-case greenhouse gas concentration scenario was overly conservative. It was requested that the percentage increases in rainfall intensity be applied to the most up-to-date rainfall data for Wollongong. A way of improving the presentation of tables in the report was put forward, with corrections sought to the population of some. It was requested that the resolution of the figures be improved and that the latest cadastre be used. There was a concern that the Study does not take into consideration recent land clearing and alleged vegetation vandalism near Turnbull Gully, at the Armagh Parade development site. It was viewed that these land changes would also change flow conditions in Turnbull Gully and the nature of flooding at the Deborah Ave culvert.
Other feedback themes related to suggestions for flood mitigation, frustration over the ongoing flood risk management process and perceived lack of action, comments on the perceived causes of flooding, and requests for creek and culvert maintenance. Some sought flood level information for their individual properties, or to understand what the Study findings mean in relation to their property. There was a view that Council influences how flood data is used for setting insurance premiums.