Heavy flood water tearing through the Lismore CBD in April this year.
Heavy flood water tearing through the Lismore CBD in April this year. Marc Stapelberg

Why wasn't the levee discussed at the Flood Ready workshops?

SIX months on from the devastating March flood, there has been a deafening silence from community leaders about moves to flood-proof Lismore.

And it will be at least another three months until it will return to the council's agenda.

This week's two-day Lismore Flood Ready project charrette conversations about mobilising recovery volunteers and innovative technologies highlighted the absence of mitigation measures.

The possibility of raising the levee and other infrastructure changes were left out of this week's community conversations at Lismore City Council.

Executive director sustainable development Brent McAlister said raising the levee was "outside of the scope" of the two-day workshop.

"We were very much focused on volunteer management, flood preparedness and things we can address immediately, not the flood levee issue," Mr McAlister said.

"It's not been a priority at this point in time and there is no timeframe per say."

However, Mr McAlister suggested it would be on the council's agenda after Christmas.

Now the workshop has concluded, Page MP Kevin Hogan said it was crucial to focus on flood mitigation.

While he noted on-going work at Rous County Council and Southern Cross University, Mr Hogan said it was crucial the community and all relevant agencies prioritised flood management.

"It's imperative that we continue to do this, on-going conversations with relevant local authorities because I want us to come up with a flood management plan, it's that simple," Mr Hogan said.

"We are getting to the point where we need to have a rough timetable and what is our outlook."

Mr Hogan canvassed the possibility of compiling a strategy by next year to take to the State and Federal governments to acquire funding.

"I would like to think within 12-18 months post the flood, in another 6-12 months, that we as a local community, we as Rous County Council, we as a university, we as a local government have discussed looked at different flood mitigation proposals and have come up with the one that we think works," he said.

"While I don't think we should be held to that timetable, I do think we need to move as quickly as we can because we can't discuss these things forever.

"The law of averages means we are going to flood eventually again one day so we need to come up with a flood mitigation plan and strategy as quickly as we can."

Lismore MP Thomas George said he didn't think flood mitigation would be discussed because measures such as raising the levee needed to have expert input, planning and direction.

He was confident those discussions would happen in the very near future.

Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith was contacted for comment but did not respond before deadline.



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