Huge Rocky levee project gets final green light
THOUSANDS of homes will be protected and 150 businesses will be able to keep trading during floods, with funding confirmed for Rockhampton's massive levee project.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow today announced the South Rockhampton Flood Levee would finally go ahead, with a $25 million grant from the Federal Government's Regional Growth Fund and business case approved.The $60 million project will be built using the Federal Government's $25 million, plus $10 million from Rockhampton Regional Council and $25 million from the State Government.
The levee has been a hotly-debated topic in Rockhampton for decades, but the push to flood-proof the city ramped up once the South Yeppen entrance to the city was raised, enabling the road to remain open during the biggest floods.
Ms Landry admitted she had been "on quite a journey" with the levee, acknowledging that she wasn't always supportive of the project.
She said it was important for her to confirm there would be no water displacement were the levee to go ahead.
But with this assurance in place, Ms Landry said she was happy to see this funding guarantee a project which would boost the region and the state.
"We've seen the value of the Yeppen South Crossing keeping the Bruce Highway open and I expect the protection of Gladstone Road to have similar effect as we keep all that traffic off Upper Dawson Road," she said.
"This is going to be extremely important for Rockhampton.
"This is about protecting homes, about protecting businesses, about keeping the Bruce Hwy open and when you look at a business like Hastings Deering that is in the flood zone, it's going to keep a business like that here in Rockhampton and I think that's extremely important."
Based at Port Curtis, Hastings Deering closed for almost a week in the 2017 flood at a cost of almost $1 million a day.
Cr Strelow was thrilled with the announcement, saying it was a big step for a state which doesn't have a good track record of building or understanding levees.
The South Rockhampton Flood Levee, plus mitigation work in North Rockhampton, will keep dry about 70 per cent of properties that would normally get wet in a one in 100 year event.
"Now, 13 per cent of our urban footprint floods and unfortunately that's what people know us for," Cr Strelow said.
"This levee will deliver huge benefits for our community, it will protect 150 businesses and 3000 jobs, allow uninterrupted schooling for the students at two primary schools and spare more than 1500 homes from the devastation of big floods.
"Once the levee is built, it is estimated it will pay for itself in just one major flood event."