Flood levee's final concrete pour today
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
COLIN CROUCH and Bernie Bock are set to become part of Lismore's history.
"It was always considered a tough assignment," Lismore mayor Merv King said.
"It was the 1989 flood that finally led to the city saying 'enough is enough, let's build a levee'."
The 3km-long wall, up to 11.56 metres high in parts, has been designed to protect the central business district from nuisance flooding, but not major floods, such as in 1974 and 1954.
"It's not designed to floodproof Lismore, it's designed to protect it from what we call the one-in-10-year flood," Rous Water general manager Paul Muldoon said.
"If the wall was there 60 years ago, there would have been about five floods that made it into the CBD."
If the water does rise above the levee, its first entry point will be near the Lismore Police Station in Molesworth Street.
Mr Muldoon said it would then flow down the Browns Creek floodway, along the back of Woodlark Street and settle in the Lismore 'basin', in the Dawson Street area.
"There will be a wall going in by the end of June at the bottom end of the Browns Creek floodway ? the water won't get straight into town," he said. "There will a second entry point at 11.23 metres in Magellan Street, and a third at 11.56 metres near the gas works."
However, he said no-one would know for certain how well the levee would work until the next flood.
"It will be a nervous time to see exactly what happens and how it works," he said.
"But in any type of flood there will now be a certain level of protection."
Cr King said the increased protection would mean a boost in property values throughout the city.
"All property values should increase. We've already had a lot more interest from business owners wanting to come to the CBD who were previously worried about flooding," he said.
"Over 600 residents will also get greater piece of mind."
An official opening of the completed levee is now being organised.
Richmond River County Council chairman, Cr John Chant, said the completion was a historic event.
"The occasion will be remembered for years to come," he said. "It will therefore be something we want to make special for the entire commu- nity."
After 15 years of planning and four years of work, a century-old idea to hold back the flood waters from Lismore's CBD will become a reality when the building contractors complete the final pour of concrete under Lismore's Fawcetts Bridge.
That simple gesture will mark the completion of the city's $18,900,000 flood levee.
The idea of the levee was first raised 100 years ago, but was only taken seriously in 1990.
Now one of the city's biggest engineering projects will be finished at the end of this week.