Everything you need to know about Rocky's flood levee revealed
INFORMATION and misinformation is spreading about the South Rockhampton Flood Levee as the controversial project returns to the table.
But the projects number-one backer, Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow, has sought to answer the questions and concerns on Rockhampton's collective mind.
Q. What is the South Rockhampton Flood Levee?
A. The South Rockhampton Flood Levee would be 7.2km long running from the Rockhampton CBD to the Bruce Highway at Upper Dawson Rd. It sweeps around Depot Hill and Port Curtis and protects properties as far as Allenstown.
Q. What will it protect?
A. 1,500 properties including 1,000 homes as well as 3,000 jobs by protecting businesses along the Gladstone Rd corridor. It will also reduce the repair bill to our roads and infrastructure.
Q. Where would the water go?
A. No areas which are currently dry would become wet. The extra water would be deepest in the Yeppen Lagoons (an extra 30 cm on top of an existing four metre deep lagoon) and to a much lesser extent (average 7.5cm) to some Rural properties on the Yeppen floodplain.
Q. How much will it cost?
A. The cost is $60 million with Council seeking significant support from State and Federal Governments. We expect the cost to council would be about $5 million from our general rates base, which is where the clean-up bill is paid by all ratepayers every time there is a flood. Once funded, we'd have shovel to dirt within six months.
Q. Wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy back the properties?
A. No, for the cost of the levee you'd only buy around 300 properties, well short of the 1,000 the levee will protect.
Q. What happens if we don't build it?
A. The State Government will have to raise Gladstone Rd, we will keep being the centre of media attention for all the wrong reasons every few years and our economy will continue to suffer after each flood event.
Q. What about other options? The Gap Dam? A canal through Pink Lily?
A. The Gap Dam could hold 10,000 GL if it were empty at the start of the floods, which is less than a third of the 32,000 GL we saw flow through the Gap in 2011. So, while it would help if it was empty before a flood, it won't solve the problem.
In 1992, the cost of building a canal from Pink Lily through Yeppen to Gavial Creek was estimated at a quarter of a billion dollars - the cost would be even more prohibitive now.
Q. Can you dredge the Fitzroy?
A. Dredging is expensive, would need to be done frequently and could have ongoing and unknown environmental impacts.
Q. Isn't the airport levee a priority?
A. There is additional work being done to design an airport levee.
We know that for $4.5 million we can install a temporary levee, however because it's in the major flow path of the Pink Lily breakout, more properties would be impacted by flood water.
Q. How are we meant to trust a levee given what happened to the Lismore Levee?
A. The Lismore Levee was designed for one in 10 year flood event and had no room for detention basins or pumps - which ours would. The Lismore levee simply over topped because it was a bigger flood. It's also important to note that the Lismore Levee has protected the town from several floods since being completed in 2005. Meanwhile, the Mackay Levee continues to protect our northern neighbour.
Q. Can we trust the experts?
A. We had one of the best engineering, geotechnical and hydrological firms in the world design this levee which was also peer reviewed. We have lots of data on our river and the design has been refined so that it is tender ready with all documents up on council's website.
Q. What about other parts of the city?
A. The North Rockhampton Flood Management Area Stage One works were extremely effective at mitigating the impact on 400 homes during this event and we are looking at a second stage to protect even more homes. We're also looking at a possible levee at Splitters Creek which would keep some parts of Park Avenue drier during an event.