Flood study predicts $6.7m bill
WORST case flooding scenarios and critical flood hot spots in Ballina are being considered as part of the council’s new floodplain risk management study and plan.
In a presentation to councillors earlier this month consultant Ben Caddis, from BMT WBM Pty Ltd, said the floorlevels of 4000 properties had been assessed.
He also said they had calculated that Ballina could expect an average of $6.7 million worth of damage every year as the result of flooding.
“Obviously some years there will be a lot more damage than others,” he said.
“But that’s the average across residential, infrastructure, agriculture and commercial.
“It’s based on the current sea level and rainfall.”
Three ‘critical’ flood-prone areas have been identified as a result of the floor level surveys.
Two of these are on Ballina Island, while the third is Ballina Quays at West Ballina.
Mr Caddis said the council should start considering flood mitigation options, such aslevees or house raising.
Also speaking to councillors during the briefing was Drew Bewsher, from Bewsher Consulting.
He said floodplain management was a balancing act.
He also urged the council to look at its ‘fill’ policy, in which developers are required to fill land to meet certain requirements.
With sea levels predicted to rise by almost one metre by 2100, and more rain expected, Mr Bewsher said the council had several options.
These include variable flood planning levels, progressively raising low-lying areas, or even abandoning these areas.
“The problem is we are trying to manage something (climate change) which we don’t yet have a full handle on,” Mr Bewsher said.
It is expected that a discussion paper detailing various options will be presented to the council at the end of September.
Based on the feedback received by councillors the council staff will then prepare drafts of the floodplain management study and management plan which, once endorsed, will go on public exhibition.