Real world planning for floods, fire

EXTENSIVE flooding throughout the Orara Valley this week and the disastrous bushfires in Victoria both demonstrate the problems with rural residential development, say several Orara Valley residents.

Connie O'Connell of Nana Glen and Paul Owens of Coramba have both experienced devastating bushfires and local floods and want to see future problems avoided.

Both say desk-based mapping and aerial mapping do not take account of real-world threats from water and fire, let alone the importance of retaining well-watered land suitable for future food crops.

Former Victorian Connie O'Connell lost an uncle at Flowerdale last week.

Her husband Jim has just returned from towing their old campervan down to Victoria to provide shelter for Connie's sister, who lost her home but saved herself, her daughter and the daughter's boyfriend.

Connie, who lived through the Ash Wednesday fires, was annoyed by a recent letter to the editor, which blamed 'greenies' for the fires.

She said the proliferation of rural subdivisions in Victoria was part of a complex fire problem and she fears the same mistakes will be repeated in Coffs Harbour.

There will be a series of community information meetings from February 28 until March 7. Details at

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