Council counts cost of flood levee

THE section of the Lismore flood levee that is threatening to collapse into the Wilsons River will cost the Lismore City Council more than $200,000 to repair.

The Northern Star revealed in February that a section of land about 20 metres long and five metres wide behind the Newtrain building in Club Lane was starting to slump causing a large crack in the levee wall.

Richmond River County Council floodplain services manager Michael Wood said geotechnical and heritage reports were delivered over the last couple of days and were being examined.

“The integrity of the levee is paramount, which is why we are not mucking about,” he said.

The geotechnical report has four options to repair the levee, including doing nothing, buying the Newtrain building and constructing a new section of the levee flat against the river, or the construction a levee in front of the building.

The most likely decision will be to buy the heritage Newtrain building and demolish the 1970s extension at the back to construct the new section of the levee wall.

County council chairman and Lismore Councillor John Chant said the cost of the purchasing the building was likely to be $600,000, with the Lismore council paying $200,000 of that amount.

The additional cost of rebuilding the 20-metre section is unknown at this time. A final decision should be made within a couple of weeks.

The levee was completed in 2005, costing about $19 million. Ironically, in July CBD businesses will finish paying the special charge struck to help pay for the levee.

The section of the levee that is collapsing juts out from the rest of the wall at the Wilsons River junction with Leycester Creek.

Mr Wood said an emergency plan had been developed in case the Wilsons River flooded before the levee was fixed.

He said in the event of a flood a temporary barrier of shot rock would be constructed along Glasgow Lane, from the Riviera car park along the front of the Newtrain building to the Corporate Express building. This could be constructed within hours of receiving a flood warning, Mr Wood said.

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