Rezone off the table

The rezoning of the floodplain at Gillenbah has been taken off the table by the Narrandera Shire Council.

Rezoning of residential and commercial development on the floodplain at Gillenbah has been stymied by the Narrandera Shire Council.

Council also voted to scrap a recommendation of voluntary purchase and house raising of properties subject to major flooding under the Narrandera Floodplain Risk Management Plan.

Councillors resolved to adopt the draft review of the Narrandera Floodplain Risk Management Study and apply for funding under the 2019-2020 Flood Management Program.

The draft report revised baseline flood conditions, including an assessment of economic impacts. It also examined potential recommended measures aimed to reduce the flooding on both existing and future developments for main stream flooding and major overland flows.

Key measures recommend as a priority for grant funding applications included an assessment of an upgrade to the southern main canal embankment and a detention basin strategy.

A deputation of Gillenbah residents attended the Council meeting last week to hear discussion around the Floodplain Risk Management Plan and rezoning.

Cr Narelle Payne said there had been much misunderstanding, concern and angst within the community over the draft plan.

“Councillors have heard the message loud and clear and are not in favour of rezoning,’’ Cr Payne said. “We should leave all options on the table and let everything be reviewed… we are not adopting planning controls, this is not a vote to rezone land.’’

Cr Payne said the study would not affect people’s current usage of their properties.

Council’s deputy general manager infrastructure Julian Geddes said floodplain rezoning was not on the agenda in the short term but rather the evaluation of planning controls.

“Rezoning is quite a long process and involves a public consultation,’’ Mr Geddes said. “A flood study does not rezone land.

“We have new information around velocities as a result of the study and we need to reconsider those risks.

“What risks are we willing to accept in the high risk flood zones?”

Cr Tammy Galvin said Gillenbah ratepayers were not interested at all in rezoning residential land now or in the future.

“This area plays an important part in the Narrandera community and has a lot of potential for commercial and residential development,’’ Cr Galvin said. “I don’t want to see it restricted by rezoning – we need to do everything we can to support development.’’

The draft report went on public exhibition on December 4 followed by a community workshop with consulting engineers Lyall and Associates on December 11.

Almost 50 submissions were received by Council focusing on the recommendation to rezone the land south of the main canal, impacts of major overland flow in the urban areas, and the potential adverse affect on the community.

Residents believed the recommended rezoning would negatively impact on the ability to redevelop their properties, add extensions or rebuild, devalue their properties and significantly reduce the ability of land to be used for farming.

After reviewing submissions, the Flood Risk Management Committee resolved to modify the wording to reflect the land use zones and control measures were examples or suggestions only.

The final zones and control measures will be determined by Council after full community consultation and assessment.

Cr Wesley Hall expressed disappointment at the level of community consultation undertaken to date.

“I haven’t read so many submissions on a Council issue for a long time… we need to go back to our community and fully consult with them,’’ he said.

The draft report revealed a one in 100 year major overland flow would inundate 82 homes, 27 commercial and industrial buildings and two public buildings to above floor level.

The damage bill was estimated to be potentially as high as $18.1 million.

New damages and flooding modelling data revealed a major overland flow would affect the town from Henry Mathieson Oval, Victoria Avenue, East Street through to the main town siphon in Larmer Street, along with undeveloped areas north of the railway line near Barellan Road.

The study found the partial failure of the southern side embankment of the main canal would exacerbate flooding in a number of residences and commercial properties on the northern side of the main canal.

High priority recommendations included an investigation to assess requirements for upgrading the southern main canal embankment, a ground survey of the Narrandera airport levee, and investigation of the water supply pumping station ring levee and Old Brewery Road upgrade.

Council resolved to proceed with the investigation and concept design of a detention basin strategy.

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