No silver bullet, but basins will help save lives in a flood
"NOBODY does it like Coffs Harbour,” says mayor Denise Knight in relation to council's ten-year flood mitigation program.
After the floods that devastated Coffs Harbour's city centre in 2009, Coffs Harbour City Council launched the $20-million Flood Mitigation Program, which involved the construction of four flood detention basins.
Today the community celebrated the completion of the final Upper Shephards Lane Detention Basin off Pearce Drive.
The other three basins are located at Bakers Rd, Bennetts Rd and Spagnolos Rd.
Funds came from a special rate variation introduced following the 2009 storm, loan funds and grants from the NSW Government.
"Unfortunately, the very geographical features that make this area such a wonderful place to live - the hills around us, the creeks and waterways - make us vulnerable to flood events,” Cr Knight said.
The basins operate by capturing the water run-off created during a storm and then releasing it slowly into the creek so that the impact of the deluge is reduced downstream.
As well as the four detention basins, council has put in place an early warning system directly linked to the SES and Bureau of Meteorology.
"Improvements have also been made to the northern tributaries of Coffs Creek to ease flow and upgrades to the CBD stormwater infrastructure.
"In addition, we've looked at what we can do from a planning point of view to reduce the potential for damage to businesses and homes from flooding,” Cr Knight said.
But she warns that flooding, by its very nature, is unpredictable and the basins are only one mitigation measure.
"We've never claimed to have a silver bullet. The basins can't solve the problem alone. But they will certainly ensure that flood levels in a 100-year event are significantly lower downstream - so that people and their property are as safe as they can be.”
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh was there to celebrate the milestone saying he was proud the State Government, through its Flood Management Program was able to assist council.
"This program gives financial support to councils by matching council funding two to one so flood risk studies, plans and projects can be completed,” Mr Singh said.
"With this support council has now completed all four detention basins at a total construction cost of $9.3 million.”
It is expected the basins will reduce flood levels by up to 0.42 metres along the Pacific Highway at Coffs Harbour.