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Prior to the community engagement period, 5 – 21 November 2018, Council sent letters to residents and property owners in the area inviting them to learn more about the flood risks in this area, the studies that have helped inform how we plan for flood risks, the proposed Ursula Road Scheme and how to provide input.
Information, including a copy of the Community Update and Feedback Form, was sent to Council’s Customer Service Centre, Thirroul Library, Neighbourhood Forum 3 and the local Member of Parliament. A Walk 'n' Talk site tour of the project area was held for key stakeholders, followed by a drop-in community information session on 5 November 2018. Flood modelling animations showing how the proposed levee will reduce flood impacts were screened at the community information session. Flood maps and concept drawings for the culvert upgrade and levee options were also displayed, along with the investigation report. Council staff, floodplain management engineers and the consultant discussed the flood problem, project objectives, important local features, work undertaken to date and key outcomes. A webpage was created which included all the information, animations, maps, concept drawings, investigation reports and an online feedback form. The community were invited to have their say via Council’s website, Customer Service Centre, and Thirroul Library.
The Principals of Bulli High School and Waniora Public School, Department of Education Asset Manager, Neighbourhood Forum 3 Convenor, Office of Environment and Heritage representative, consultants from SMEC, 2 Council floodplain engineers and a local resident attended the Walk ‘n’ Talk site tour. 34 community members attended the information session (pictured).
10 people provided submissions throughout the engagement period:
- 3 were open submissions
- 4 were hardcopy form submissions
- 3 provided feedback via the survey on Council’s engagement website
Of the 10 submissions received, 7 respondents expressed their support for the proposed deflection levee and/or culvert upgrade for flood mitigation, with the remaining 3 not indicating either way. Some provided information about their experiences of flooding and its impacts in this catchment, including submitting some photos and suggestions for other possible flood mitigation works.
Whilst it is acknowledged that there is general support from the community for the proposed levee and/or culvert upgrade, there are further investigations that are required to be carried out prior to confirming the specific measures that will be recommended for detailed design and construction. The investigations will need to consider community feedback, incorporate any new data gained and also assess other measures (including WC09) raised during the engagement period.
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Council completed a Flood Study, Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan for the combined catchments of Whartons, Collins and Farrahars Creeks, Bellambi Gully and Bellambi Lake in 2011 and 2014.
These catchments have experienced significant flooding in recent decades, including in August 1998, March 2014, August 2015 and June 2016. The Flood Study looked at flood behaviour throughout the combined catchments, while the Floodplain Risk Management Study looked at a range of flood mitigation measures to reduce the impact of flooding on the community. One of the flood problem areas is along Whartons Creek, both to the east and west of the railway line. The Floodplain Risk Management Plan recommended the following measures for reducing flood risk as part of the Ursula Road Flood Mitigation Scheme:
- WC02 – flood retarding basin in Gordon Hutton Park
- WC06 – flood deflection levee on the northern bank of Whartons Creek between the railway line and Franklin Avenue
- WC07 – upgrade of the existing Franklin Avenue road culverts with an enlarged culvert/bridge in conjunction with improvements to the channel immediately downstream of Franklin Avenue
- WC09 – upgrade of the piped drainage system in Ursula Road and Trinity Row
We’ve worked with a flood consultant on detailed investigations and flood modelling of each measure in the Scheme to see which are the most viable options. We’ve considered economic, social and environmental factors and site constraints. The outcomes of the investigation are as follows:
- WC02 – not recommended as it provides little flood benefit for the high cost to carry it out and poses a safety risk to people and property at the soccer club/childcare centre to the immediate east. It’s also important to keep Gordon Hutton Park as a recreational community space.
- WC06 – two options for the levee were assessed and found to be potentially viable
- WC07 – two options for an upgraded culvert were assessed and found to be potentially viable
- WC09 – investigation of this measure is still to be completed (details below)
We’re holding an information session
to let you know about the investigations that have been done to date, their key outcomes and to get your input. The investigation report and maps will be available to view at this session. Following this, we’ll work out which combination of deflection levee and culvert upgrade performs best and look at potential measures to reduce adverse flood impacts from the viable option(s). We’ll also take a closer look at the social and economic factors, and site constraints. Once this has been completed, we’ll have a better understanding of how effective the levee (WC06) and culvert upgrade (WC07) are at reducing flooding along Ursula Road and Trinity Row and can then look at possible upgrades to the existing stormwater network (WC09).