Flood figures don’t add up

ALLEGATIONS of bureaucratic incompetence that could increase the flooding risk at Macksville had Nambucca Shire Councillors demanding immediate action on Thursday night.

They voted unanimously for the Department of Planning to undertake an independent peer review of flood modelling used by the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) in its planning for the Macksville bypass.

Councillor Michael Moran was so worried about the RTA’s figures he called for a royal commission.

“Too much information is missing and too many details are wrong for us to have any confidence that what the RTA is planning won’t result in more homes in Macksville becoming more vulnerable to flooding,” Cr Moran said.

“They seem to have ignored any first-hand accounts of flood levels from locals who have endured them and instead have made up figures for their Environmental Impact Statement (EIS),” he said.

Submissions to the EIS for the Macksville bypass closed last month.

“We will face big problems if we don’t question the RTA about why they have used the (flood) levels that they have,” Cr John Ainsworth said.

At issue is a discrepancy of 370 millimetres between flood levels applied to modelling within the EIS.

“If the higher level is correct and the bypass is built with that figure in mind then many homes will end up being flooded,” the mayor, Cr Rhonda Hoban, said.

“We need to know why there are so many discrepancies in the EIS,” she said.

It was an observation of the Director of Planning, Greg Meyers, that really convinced councillors they needed an independent peer review.

“It would seem to me that someone in the RTA had trouble converting old imperial flood levels to metric,” Mr Meyers said.

“That’s the best way that I can explain why the figures just don’t add up.”

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