A FORMER Wagga councillor used a community forum to question the maintenance program on the levee.
Mark Gooden, a former floodplain committee chairman wants to see more maintenance of the river bank.
He said a consultant’s report, produced by WMAwater, then known as Webb McKeown and Associates in 2007 recommended a 300 metre clearway either side of the river.
The same report estimated the cost of increasing the levee bank’s height to be between $7 and $10 million.
“Without clearing it, it was up to a 200mm impact,” Mr Gooden said.
“It was recommended in 2007 and no one had the backbone to do it,” he said.
“The longer we leave it, the bigger the hole we’ll find ourselves in … the only time we think about it is before or after a flood,” Mr Gooden said.
Committee 4 Wagga CEO Chris Fitzpatrick called on the city to “put our own personal issues aside for the minute” and support the project.
They were among of a crowd of just 35 people at forum to listen to Wagga City Council’s plans for a special rate variation to upgrade the levee bank.
Councillor Paul Funnell faced the crowd as he explained the $23.3 million project.
“The longer we leave it, the bigger the hole we’ll find ourselves in … the only time we think about it is before or after a flood"- Former councillor Mark Gooden
“(The SRV) amortises the cost over a long period of time,” Cr Funnell said.
Unlike previous special variations, Cr Funnell said a number of councillors, including himself had pushed for the “levee levy” to be included as a separate item on rate notices.
“It will be separate to base rates and it will drop off after five years.”
He also wants to see the increased rate apply only after funding had been secured from the state and federal governments.
Cr Funnell said the problem with the levee upgrade had been how it was funded, he confirmed it would include raising North Wagga’s levee to a one in 20 year flood while the CBD would be raised to one in 100 years.
The increase is roughly between 600 to 800 millimetres to the flood barrier, primarily through earthworks.
Wagga City Council will apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal in February 2016 which will hand down a decision in May.
The upgrade could potentially begin in late 2016.
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