MODE OF TRANSPORT: Woodlark Street looked like a river during the flood and kayaks were useful.
MODE OF TRANSPORT: Woodlark Street looked like a river during the flood and kayaks were useful. Marc Stapelberg

Are we better prepared for future floods?

WHILE we mark the one year anniversary of the devastating March 31 flood, we asked some of our local representatives if they believe the Northern Rivers is better prepared to manage and respond to such a enormous weather event.

Page MP Kevin Hogan said while the Northern Rivers has come along way there is still a lot that needs to be done in regards to flood mitigation.

"In my opinion the thing we need to do much more work on, that we are still in the process of, is looking at how we can at least mitigate if not prevent floods in the future,” Mr Hogan said.

"We need to do further flood mitigation work, we've given council money to do hydrology reports and look at how we can do that.”

Over the past year the Federal and State Governments have committed over $100 million to flood recovery.

"That is money...we...have given councils to fix public infrastructure but also grants to business and obviously payment to households that went under as well,” Mr Hogan said.

He said people are still at different stages of recovery but believes all are better prepared if such an event was to occur again.

"I think there are different horses for different courses there,” Mr Hogan said.

"I think certainly individual businesses and people would be better prepared, obviously there is a memory now of that flood and people will do things a lot differently than they did last year.”

Lismore MP Thomas George said even a year later his office is still working with individuals and families who are still waiting to hear final outcomes from their insurance companies.

"That's very disappointing, disappointing for the individuals and organisations that have had to endure that for so long,” Mr George said.

Mr George said he knows people who are a lot more skittish when there is a mention of a flood.

"It'll be a different attitude from them and that all comes about sadly from experience.”

On the other hand Mr George said he was concerned that those people who were overly cautious last time may not respond the same way.

"I just hope, despite what happened last flood, the warning signs are still adhered to,” he said.

Even amongst all the devastation in both Lismore and Murwillumbah, Mr George said he was proud to see how far both communities have come, as both CBDs received a facelift in their recovery.

"It's a fresh approach to business.... you can feel it when you walk around the city.”

"Some of (the business owners) still may be hurting but they're in there giving it a go.”

Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said now the community is very much aware of the issue, their response will most definitely be better prepared.

Cr Smith said Council was still working closely with the SES, the Bureau of Meteorology and the State and Federal Governments to put into place better strategies for future extreme weather events.

"Council is working through our mitigation strategies, so that when we have the right reports, the right hydrology about how to reduce future floods the State and Federal Government can step in and actually make a difference for us reducing serious floods in the future,” Cr Smith said.

Kyogle Mayor Danielle Mulholland said she believed the resilient business owners and residents of Kyogle are absolutely more prepared than they were this time last year.

"I'd even say we are better prepared as a region because after the last really big flood I think everyone took a step back and went 'ohh',” said Cr Mulholland .

"It put it back into the forefront of people's memories.”

"So people were starting to think 'okay well this can happen and it can happen relatively quickly, what do we need to do to be prepared for next time?' ”

Cr Mulholland said while she felt for the people who had to clean up after the massive flood, she believed it would only need to happen once or twice before individuals, families and business owners would start thinking about creating an effective a flood plan.

"If you keep doing the same thing over and over again it is the definition of insanity,” she said.

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