ESTABLISHING a grassroots safety group which could organise future flood protection measures without the SES was one suggestion to come out of a community meeting on Friday.
Nearly 200 residents attended the meeting at North Wagga’s community hall, with many forced to stand outside and listen because there was not enough room inside.
The meeting, organised by SES and North Wagga Residents’ Association, was held to “demystify” the process behind flood preparedness and air resident concerns.
Creator of the North Wagga Community Facebook page Austin Gregor said 90-minute informal question and answer session was an opportunity to ease resident fear about floods.
“People were getting concerned that council was stockpiling materials to upgrade the levee if they needed to,” he said.
What we are trying to do is explain to them and demystify the flooding process in the Riverina
“But a lot of that has to do with the lessons learnt from 2012, council is now being a lot more proactive rather than reactive.”
Residents at the meeting also spruiked the idea of starting a safety committee similar to Uranquinty’s, which had ‘flood-proofed’ the village earlier this month in consultation with the SES.
“Instead on having to rely on the SES or other emergency services, if we can be proactive in our preparations it should be beneficial for everyone,” Mr Gregor said.
Murrumbidgee and Murray SES community engagement co-ordinator Ian Leckie led the question-and-answer session.
Mr Leckie said SES was working with North Wagga to help them establish a safety committee that could perform flood-prevention tasks such as sandbagging.
“Rather than waiting for the SES to come and help we can provide them with the tools and information,” he said. “They can start being a bit more resilient and taking things into their own hands.”
SES will hold another community meeting on floods for Gumly Gumly in East Kooringal Football’s clubroom on Tuesday night from 6.30pm.