Quarry’s impact on Grantham flood put under spotlight

IF a controversial quarry next to the Lockyer Creek had not been built, water in the 2011 fatal Grantham floods would have flowed very differently.

That is according to a man whose family has owned a farm on the creek since the late 1800s.

At the flood inquiry on Tuesday, witness Anthony McIntosh said he had witnessed several floods during his years on the property.

Mr McIntosh said before the quarry was built, flood water used to spill into low-lying land around a bend, where the quarry now was, and would flow back into the creek.

"It was a natural event where the topography of the land was at the time," he said.

He witnessed the 1974 flood but the waters did not rise as high as the 2011 floods that reached his brick home.

The inquiry also heard from Patrick "John" Gallagher on Tuesday, who said he wrote to Lockyer Valley Council to air concerns about a "massive" quarry wall six years before it was blamed for contributing to the floods.

Mr Gallagher told the flood inquiry he worked near the Wagners quarry and had family members living nearby who he would regularly visit.

The inquiry was also shown videos Mr McIntosh had captured. One video showed water rising in the creek and a video shot eight minutes later showed the water right up to his front yard.

"This is an absolute disaster," he was heard saying on the video. "…A wall of water should be nearly hitting Grantham any minute." 

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An aerial photograph of the former Wagners quarry near Grantham which was sold to Boral in April, 2011.
An aerial photograph of the former Wagners quarry near Grantham which was sold to Boral in April, 2011. Kevin Farmer

 

12:00 PM Man raised quarry concerns six years before lethal floods

A GRANTHAM man says he wrote to Lockyer Valley Council to air concerns about a "massive" quarry wall six years before it was blamed for contributing to the 2011 floods that claimed 12 lives in the town.

Patrick "John" Gallagher told the flood inquiry he worked near the Wagners quarry and had family members living nearby whom he would regularly visit.

He said the quarry wall began increasing in height from about 2002 to 2005.

Quarry owner Wagners has denied the structure contributed to the flood's severity, with managing director Denis Wagner previously suggesting it may have delayed the torrent by 10 minutes by holding back the water.

But water environment experts DHI earlier this year released a report stating about 260m of embankment wall had collapsed and could have "produced a fast moving and temporary change in the onset of flooding which could have impacted on the ability of residents to move to higher ground or safety".

Mr Gallagher said he wrote to the council about his concerns in 2006 but never received a reply.

"I was shocked at the size of the wall," he said.

"If you ask me in height, it's bigger than this room.

"My statement is six metres, and this room is not six metres."

Mr Wagner is due to face the inquiry tomorrow.

-APN NEWSDESK



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