AROUND 20 people turned out on Tuesday, July 4 for a session held at The Foster Community Health Centre.
The point of the exercise was to gather information from Foster residents for a flood study being undertaken by South Gippsland Shire Council and Engeny Water Management.
The locals had a few questions of their own. Geoff McCraw asked how long it would take Council to do something about the potential flooding hazard?
Last year as waters continued to rise, SES volunteers, police and Shire officers, door-knocked along Pioneer Street, Boyd and Apex Courts and part of Station Road to alert residents of the rising floodwaters. Geoff and Shirley McCraw were woken at around 10.30pm by a police officer. Their home was completely flooded and it took many friends and helpers to clean up the mess.
“It’s great to have good mates… together we emptied the furniture out of the house,” he said, adding at the time, that all carpets, underlay, rugs, skirting boards and a great deal of furniture had been seriously water damaged.
The majority of the people in attendance still have concerns about Boundary Road and what will happens if another big water event happens. They are also very concerned about the amount of trees and debris that still exists along Stockyard Creek, although it has been improved since that last flood exactly 12 months ago.
The final Study Report is expected to be completed in Feb 2018. It is proposed to make the report public once Council has been briefed.
Those present at the meeting on Tuesday were told it could take 2-3 years for anything to actually be done about it.
Geoff Davis from the Council explained that SGSC secured funding from the Victorian State Government to undertake a Flood and Drainage investigation of the current and future impact of extreme rainfall events in Foster.
“The first steps are to develop computer-based flood models for Foster. The models will be used to generate detailed flood extent, depth, height and velocity information for a range of floods and rainfall events, which will be used to improve land use planning and emergency response,” he said.
Engeny Water Management has been appointed to undertake this Study.
The focus of the Study will be on the township of Foster and Stockyard Creek, however the Study area will also include Bennison Creek.
Because no previous flood studies or flood mapping have been undertaken for Foster it was necessary to hold a community drop in session where landowners could talk to Council and Engeny staff about previous flood events or emergencies. Information from this session would then be used to inform Engeny and assist them to validate their computer models.
“Further community consultation sessions will be arranged later during the Study to advise residents and landowners what has been produced to ensure the Study “stays on track,” said Geoff Davis.
Geoff McCraw said that if the flooding happened again he would be looking for someone to sue.
“We would suggest that the best course of action for anyone affected by any natural disaster would be to contact their insurance company,” Geoff Davis from the Council said, when asked for a response to Geoff McCraw’s comments.