A TOORA resident is writing a petition to urge authorities to mitigate flood risks in the town.
The person has chosen to remain anonymous for the time being, but believes they have the backing of other residents in the town.
The petition, which will be sent to relevant MPs and authority heads, comes in the wake of uncertainty generated by the South Gippsland Shire Council’s decision to place a Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (LSIO) on 29 properties in Toora.
The petition asks signatories to support:
1. The rejection of the proposed Amendment C116 Toora Inundation Overlay (Muddy Creek).
2. The remediation of Muddy Creek and ongoing maintenance.
In a covering letter to the petition, the petitioner said a public meeting in Toora on February 14 left them with the impression that West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority intends “to abrogate their legislative requirements to maintain the water course”.
The petitioner did not believe WGCMA statutory planning manager Adam Dunn, when he said clearing Muddy Creek of weeds and debris would not lessen the risk of flooding.
“We’ve asked will they clean the creek up and the answer so far has been no. And the next response we got was, well we’re going to shove an overlay on it,” the petitioner said.
“It’s got to the point now where people are thinking, well your response now to us asking for the creek to be maintained is for an overlay to be placed on the area around Muddy Creek. The overlay doesn’t solve our problem.
“It doesn’t stop it flooding. We’ve written this petition, but it’s on behalf of all the affected landowners. The overlay doesn’t solve the problem. By Council belting an overlay on the area it relieves the WGCMA of responsibility for cleaning the creek.”
As an example, the petitioner said Muddy Creek’s flooding near Victoria Street on July 27, 2011 was not caused by excessive rain – though there was plenty about at the time – but the fact that three gumtrees had fallen in the wild weather and blocked culverts. Clearance of the blockage required hard work by several people with chainsaws.
“If the culverts are of insufficient size and number then bank up must occur, thus flooding follows. In the event of a one per cent flood, which cannot be predicted, does that leave the SGSC and WGCMA either jointly or severally liable for a failure of duty of care being aware of the potential flooding problem and having taken no action?” he asked.
“Should it be proven that the under-road drainage be adequate to handle the water flow then logic dictates the problem is the creek and its impediments. It is understood that whilst not a one per cent flood, the South Gippsland Highway and Victoria Street have been flooded in the past, caused by a build up of material, fallen trees, leaves, bull rushes and some rubbish.
“In the event of a major flood resulting in serious property damage to a number of landholders, the potential for a class action is then created.” The petitioner wrote, “Should the creek remain in its current state, the environmental/ecological problems may impact the area and spread into Corner Inlet. Under the provisions of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, a Planning Authority must consider environmental, social and economic implications in assessing any proposed amendment.”