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BCC Candidate Q4of8 - Flood Area Policy

Submitted by webmaster on Sat, 31/03/2012 - 7:58pm

What do you think are the best policies to develop with respect to flood-prone areas, given that Queensland flood mapping will make clearer the vulnerable areas, and how will you work to achieve implementation of those policies - over what time frame?



The recommendations made in the recent Flood Inquiry are supported by Council and myself.
I can vouch from personal experience from the flood event in January 2011 of the personal stress and devastation to people’s lives and properties and I will assist those affected where possible and actively lobby for cooperation between the Council and the State Government.

The Flood Royal Commission recommendations provide a very useful guide to improving flood plain management, water and drainage management and development and planning in the catchment.  I support implementation of these recommendations, except the proposal for a levee around the Brisbane Markets. This would adversely impact neighbouring residential areas, who would have to deal with the displaced water flows. Protecting a large business at the expense of residents and many small businesses is not acceptable.
One of the simplest and most important measures that could be implemented quickly is to stop massive amounts of fill being dumped in the catchment.  I have strongly and consistently opposed, both locally and at Council, developments that allow filling in flood prone or known flooding areas.  For example the Bus Depot site, the Brisbane Markets site and the Yeerongpilly TOD site, all of which are in sensitive environmental and water catchment areas and all of which are being made possible through massive quantities of fill.  This type of fill has massive impacts on the catchment and flow paths and simply should not be allowed.  The Flood Royal Commission makes useful recommendations about how to improve development and planning and I will be working to ensure these recommendations are full implemented within City Plan, as part of the upcoming review this year.  
Brisbane City Council also has completed flood reviews and technical reports which recommend backflow values in at least 39 suburbs across the city including Tennyson Ward.  I fought hard in Council, in the media and with local residents to ensure our ward was included in this review.  To date, the Lord Mayor has only supported backflow values in the CBD and city fringe areas.  In my budget submission to Council I have called for back flow values to be installed at a minimum and as a priority at the key inlet/outfall pipes at the River. These valves work effectively in Yeronga and should be standard right along the river.
Finally, some 16 months after the flood and BCC and DERM have still not released details of the remediation and rehabilitation of Oxley Creek.  Both Council and the State Government have responsibility to the Creek and should work together to restore the most important tributary to the Brisbane River. I have been working closely with the Tennyson Residents Association to pressure Council to develop an action plan to restore the creeks stability, health as well as consider flood mitigation strategies.  To date they have not release any plans and the creek remains highly toxic and unstable.   The health of this Creek must be a priority of both Council and the State Government.

My background is in building code development, which is often regarded as the poor cousin of the planning process. However, I believe building standards can offer an effective solution to many home owners who find themselves in areas that are vulnerable to flooding.
Basically, new building work in flood-prone areas should be built to particular specifications that minimise the amount of damage that is caused in the event of a flood. This does not necessarily mean arbitrarily raising the height of buildings (though that is an option as well), as there a number of innovative construction and design methods that can assist homes to be built back stronger and more resilient.

I will support recommendations by Queensland Flood Inquiry but believe that residents need ongoing consultation and support to proactively manage their flood risk. I will never support development on flood plains such as the proposed plans to build a 283 unit frail aged care facility at the “Old Turf Farm” just off Centenary Motorway.

Council is undertaking the recommendations of the independent review of Brisbane City Council’s response to the January 2011 floods. The State Government’s commission of inquiry recommended a flood study between State and Local governments for the Brisbane River.
The Lord Mayor and I support the recommendations of the commission and will progress the recommendations which require state and local government co-operation.