Port Fairy flood plan awaits minister

A NEW blueprint to deal with flooding in Port Fairy is in the hands of the state government for final approval.

Moyne Shire councillors have endorsed an amendment to the town’s floodplain management plan with Minister for Planning Matthew Guy to decide on its fate within the next fortnight.

If Mr Guy gives his seal of approval, the plan will be the guide for identifying flood-prone areas in the  township. It has been developed over the past decade and identifies areas in the town that fit under either Floodway Overlay (FO) or Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (LSIO).

Moyne Shire director of sustainable development Oliver Moles said Port Fairy’s location made such a plan essential.

“There was a previous flood study done but that was found to have some faults,” Mr Moles said.

“Port Fairy is subject to flooding like many towns that were built on rivers historically to get fresh water and for transport reasons back in the 1800s.

“As a result we suffer when the river does the natural thing and it rains too hard and the water comes down from the catchment and it floods.

“The purpose of flood mapping and amending planning schemes is to tell people where are the areas of highest risk for life and property and where are the other areas of flooding that are less of a risk but will still get wet and where are the safe dry areas.”

Mr Moles said FO areas were where there was potential for fast-flowing deep water, while LSIO areas were where water rise was slower and shallower but inconvenient. 

In FO areas building is generally discouraged, while in LSIO areas building can occur in many cases provided the floor level is lifted sufficiently. 

Moyne Shire councillor and chairwoman of the council’s environment and conservation committee, Jill Parker, described the plan as a “sound document”.

“With the former flood information the Port Fairy CBD and Regent Street were FO areas but much of that has been changed to LSIO areas to reflect the current situation,” Cr Parker said.

“This new plan gives people some really good guidelines they can look to when they want to build in certain areas in the town.”

A point of contention has been the restriction of flow in Reedy Creek, bordering the north and west of the town, that effects the flood rating of a number of properties.

Cr Parker said council would continue to work with landowners to address that situation.

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