Planned flood works won’t protect 173 properties near Russells Creek

A FORTHCOMING  multi-million-dollar flood prevention program for Russells Creek  will fall short for 173 properties in north Warrnambool, alarming some ratepayers.

The city council’s admission that only 763 of the 936 identified residential properties would benefit from the $2.85 million installation of  culverts and levee banks next summer has startled Peter Marriott.

He fears his rental house in Moonah Street could be inundated by the one-in-100-year flood level  used by the council and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Manage­ment Authority (CMA) in their calculations.

“I’m appalled that so many properties have been left out of the scheme,” he told The Standard yesterday.

“I bought this house two years ago and nothing appeared on the sale documents indicating it was  prone to flooding.

“For those affected there will be difficulties in getting permits to build, extend or sell. If  the works cause more flooding to the 200 properties then council could be liable for damage claims. 

“This calculated flood level is half a metre lower than the 1946 flood.”

The city council has been holding briefing meetings this week explaining implications of the scheme and has offered further advice if requested.

When the mitigation project was announced last week CMA chief executive Kevin Wood and city council infrastructure director Peter Robertson indicated new studies showed  936 residential blocks would be affected to varying degrees by a once-a-century flood.

A total of 146 buildings would have water rise above floor level in such a flood, but after the mitigation works 99  would no longer be at risk while the other 47 would have less risk, they said.

A fact sheet on the project said government funding did not extend far enough to cover every property.

“This mitigation project is designed to minimise the risk to the maximum number of properties given funding constraints,” the council said. “Council will continue to work with various government agencies and the CMA to determine the best options for long-term management of flood risk for Warrnambool.

“The mitigation work will benefit many properties, but for other areas of north Warrnambool there is no change.” The project entails three extra culverts on Mortlake Road, a levee at La Bella Court, a levee north  of the creek north of Garden Street and another south of the creek on the eastern side of Garden Street.

In an explanation of why properties were allowed to be built in flood areas, the council said relevant information at the time did not show risks.

“New information from extensive survey data and best-practice computer modelling has provided fresh insights,” it said.

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