North Wagga residents are demanding increased protection after a report found the suburb was only protected from a one-in-eight-year flood.
Council’s Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan recommended raising homes or buying back houses as a way to protect residents of North Wagga. However, North Wagga Residents' Association president Dan Grentell accused council of shirking its responsibility to the suburb.
“Why can’t we have what everyone else has, we have homes and businesses that need protection as much as anyone else,” Mr Grentell said.
“They need to protect us and the people outside the levee, that’s their job and there are lives and livelihoods to protect. The problem is they don’t want to spend money on North Wagga, we don’t even have kerbs and guttering.”
Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said he understood North Wagga’s concerns, but there was no easy solution for flood protection.
“We’re dealing with people’s lives and properties and we’re mindful of that, but it’s going to be a tough decision and whatever you do you’ll impact somebody,” Councillor Conkey said.
“As I understand it if we increase height of the North Wagga levee it will impact residents already in North Wagga, 34 homes will be adversely impacted and that obviously also impacts people upstream. I understand North Wagga is a close-knit community, a lovely community and I’m mindful and understand why they want to live there, but bear in mind they’ll get flooded occasionally.”
While Mr Grentell was convinced that the long-awaited upgrades to the city’s main levee bank would increase the flood risk to the suburb, Cr Conkey said that was not the case.
“My understanding is the levee works will not impact on North Wagga,” Cr Conkey said.
“Our priority is to complete the main levee and it’s still on time and on target for a December, 2018 completion. That’s our main priority, the major infrastructure project, but we’re mindful about what we do with North Wagga.”
The deadline to make submissions on Wagga City Council’s Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan was extended to December 6 after complaints from community groups that there was not enough time to make a considered response.
You can have your say on the floodplain by visiting Wagga City Council’s website, via email or by writing a letter.