IT SEEMS there is light at the end of the tunnel for North Wagga residents who have been fighting for a full levee upgrade for years.
Over the years, many residents have felt that their ever-present concerns over flooding and evacuations have been ignored by Wagga City Council.
But last week councillors agreed to send a letter to the state's Minister for Energy and Environment Matthew Kean asking that the state government finance a feasibility study for a one-in-100-year levee for the suburb.
And yesterday evening about 100 people united under one roof at the North Wagga Public Hall in the hope all community members could have their say on the bid to have the flood levee raised.
The meeting was led by the North Wagga Residents' Association and many spoke of their concerns, such as blockages on the floodplain and past flood experiences where residents were not allowed back into their homes until it was too late.
The association's treasurer Fiona Ziff said the feasibility study would give North Wagga greater control over flood mitigation.
"I'm hoping that we can work together and certainly for North Wagga residents, I hope that we can now become more involved in the next stage and we really want this feasibility study to go ahead," Ms Ziff said.
"We'll be lobbying to the state government to do that, also to Joe McGirr and Michael McCormack.
"We're going to be heavily involved so that we can satisfy ourselves and that what is being investigated and studied is genuine and appropriate."
Junee resident Peter Morris is a strong supporter of the North Wagga cause and said the meeting signified that residents outside of the suburb have finally started to understand the "imbalance of fairness".
"I strongly believe that North Wagga are fully entitled to have just as much protection as Wagga," Mr Morris said.
"I also believe the people upstream of both levees are entitled to additional help in getting their homes protected for floods.
"I also believe that council has been irresponsible ... I feel strongly that North Wagga deserves more."
Councillor Kerry Pascoe attended the meeting and said that he understands residents' frustration towards the "inaction" by council.
"I've always been out here when things have been on and I spent a lot of time in 2012 during the floods," Cr Pascoe said.
"I resigned from the flood management committee because of the inaction.
"I'll be outspoken with what's going on over here and I think we've got to do the best we can for North Wagga."
Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, has lived in North Wagga for 70 years and said after many years of fighting, she finally feels like they've achieved something.
"I'm feeling good ... we've been fighting for a long time," she said.
However, Wagga resident Cheryl Fitzgerald Holmes argued at last night's meeting that levees create a "false sense of security" and money should instead be spent on elevating homes.
"If you are successful in getting a one-in-100 year levee ... if you look at overseas studies, levees actually create more problems than they solve," she said.
"Apart from that, the properties outside the levee, upstream the levee, that have never flooded in the history of Wagga .. it will have a catastrophic effect on them - they will flood.
"I guess what you're arguing for is just going to snowball and cause problems all the way upstream."
It was suggested by Ms Ziff that a combination of elevating homes and a levee could be the answer to achieving the appropriate flood protection in North Wagga.