Delays in upgrading the levee bank is costing the community in more ways than one

The wheels of government can sometimes turn slowly, but delays in completing the upgrade to Wagga’s levee bank comes at a very real cost.

This week, the Committee 4 Wagga highlighted the impact these delays were having – which are significant.

For years the council has been undertaking reports and investigations into upgrading the main levee and the levee surrounding North Wagga.

It was only following the 2010 flood that there was any movement on the levee front – and some would argue that this was too little and, more importantly, too late.

By the time the 2012 floods struck the region, there had been plenty of talk but no action.

In the years since the 2012 flood, the council has managed to promote and work towards major sporting projects and the intermodal freight hub at Bomen.

It could easily be argued having a world-class freight hub will be of little value if the city’s CBD is wiped out by the next flood, but priorities have not been a focus of this important issue.

In the end, the upgrade to the levy will cost somewhere between $21 million and $25 million. It’s a hefty price tag but surely the value of the assets that will be forever protected by its construction far outweighs this initial investment.

Perhaps the city council was right to wait for funding assistance from the state and federal governments, although it begs the question as to where fingers would be pointed if a larger flood came through while waiting for those funds.

And who is acting in the best interests of ratepayers and residents? Many of those living in the “flood zone” are facing insurance hikes of between $3000 and $4000 – a year.

If the project takes another three years to complete, it means some residents and businesses will have to find more than $10,000 to maintain their flood insurance or run the risk of being left with nothing.

The Committee 4 Wagga understands the importance of this project and the cost to the community of these delays.

As was reported in yesterday’s edition of The Daily Advertiser, Roma was struck by floods in 2012 and managed to have an upgrade to its levee bank in one year. Following that, insurance premiums dropped by between 45 and 90 per cent.

The time for talk on this critical issue has passed – it’s now time for some action.