Flood wash-up meeting in Lismore
By NERIDA BLOK
EVERY flood is different and floodwater is not flat ? it's a combination complicating Lindsay Matterson's job.
The local State Emergency Service unit controller acknowledged there were variations in height levels in the river in Lismore's recent flood.
It was the hot topic discussed at Lismore City Council's public meeting on Wednesday night in North Lismore's Italo Club.
Mr Matterson said there were differences, with Browns Creek spillway recording a height of 10.65 metres, and the official gauge ? used by the SES at the Lismore Rowing Club ? 10.2 metres.
He wants people to talk about hours rather than heights.
"By thinking in hours before the levee bank overtops determines how much time they have to pack up," he said. "If they waited until it reached the rowing club's crest of 10.95 metres, it would have been well over (at Browns Creek) because of the flood slope."
Mr Matterson said public education was the key.
"The SES now have to train people on how much time they've got if the levee is expected to top, and how long they have ? based on the rate of rise and flood slope," he said.
He said surveyors have measured the flood heights from the last flood and were comparing them against previous information.
"We will take into account what happened, but what else can we do? Every flood is different," he said.
He also defended criticism the SES had evacuated people 'unnecessarily and prematurely'.
"I'd rather have to defend a judgment to evacuate than, god forbid, give evidence in a coronial inquiry into someone drown- ing," he said.