Council committed to future flood improvements
  • Thursday 15 November 2012

The extreme rainfall events of February and March 2012 caused severe flooding in a number of areas across the Sunshine Coast that damaged homes and businesses.

Sunshine Coast Council has spent $718,000 on remedial and improvement?works, including investigations and on-ground maintenance and rehabilitation projects arising from the floods.

Service Delivery Portfolio Councillor Ted Hungerford said council would continue to fund further necessary works that are identified in ongoing flood reports.

"The extreme weather events in February and March delivered rainfall levels that were well above the required design level for infrastructure, including roads, drains and buildings," he said.

"In order to better prepare the region for possible future weather events of this magnitude, council established a Flood Review Panel to investigate the worst affected areas and report on the occurrences."

Cr Hungerford said the review panel had investigated a number of areas to date and its work was ongoing.

"Independent consultants have also been appointed to consider particular flood-hit areas in more detail and to identify possible improvements," he said.

"A number of community consultation meetings have been held in Tewantin, Cooroy, Pomona and Buderim to present the findings of the reports to date.

"A number of community reference groups have also been formed to provide opportunities for communities to play an active role in the ongoing improvement processes."

Cr Hungerford said reports had indicated that the extreme magnitude of the rain events far exceeded the stormwater capacity of the localities, based on the previous design standard.

"Council stormwater infrastructure is generally designed to accommodate small to medium rain events," he said.

"Given the extreme levels of rain that fell during the events in February and March, it was not unexpected that council’s stormwater infrastructure and other drain lines were overwhelmed, resulting in widespread flooding."

Division 12 Councillor Tony Wellington said flooding in areas such as Tewantin, Cooroy and Pomona was a product of extreme events.

"Last February, Cooroy experienced the highest rainfall ever recorded on the Sunshine Coast," he said.

"Some of the flooding was exacerbated by blockages in creeks and waterways, particularly on State Government controlled land.

"Council is currently working with State Government agencies to identify ways of dealing with these problems and to establish future maintenance programs for high risk areas.

"Already an agreement has been pioneered allowing council to remove debris from a creek in the National Park downstream from Daintree Estate, Tewantin.

"In some cases council crews conducted emergency works in the immediate aftermath of the flooding on property that isn’t under the control of council, to remove debris and obstructions.

"These areas included State Government controlled land such as main road reserves, creeks, state forest and rail reserves.

"Part of the ongoing work of council’s Flood Review Panel is to clarify council’s responsibility for routine maintenance of such areas and potentially reduce the need for lengthy permit negotiations in the future."

Council representatives from the Flood Review Panel actively met with many community members who suffered adverse impacts from the February and March flood events. Council also listened to matters raised by the community and explored further rehabilitation works that could potentially be undertaken to minimise impacts during future rain events. Actions to date have included:

  • Removal of debris
  • Clearing out of drainage channels
  • Repairing collapsed culverts
  • Removing significant vegetation that could serve as a future obstruction
  • Removing large bodies of silt that accumulated in drainage structures
  • Deepening and widening drainage channels in priority locations
  • Removal of structures (such as handrails and in one case a footbridge) that could create obstructions in future events
  • Creating diversion channels or flow paths.

These actions are on-going and will continue as further needs are identified.

Flood investigations are still underway in Maroochydore and Mooloolaba and draft reports are expected during December 2012. Improved flood modelling has been recommended for a number of locations. This will be undertaken in-house and it is expected that recommendations for infrastructure improvements will result from this modelling. Further reports will be presented to council as this work progresses.