NORTH Wagga residents gatecrashed the official opening of the main city levee today in their pursuit of adequate flood protection for the village.
Some of Wagga's most prominent leaders were gathered to unveil a plaque that marked the completion of the $23 million main city levee that finished in March.
However, the village residents gathered in numbers to bombard the likes of Wagga mayor Greg Conkey and Deputy Prime Minister and Riverina MP Michael McCormack about their flood protection campaign.
It was necessary to corner the city's leaders, according to North Wagga Residents' Association treasurer Fiona Ziff, who claimed they had not wanted to meet with the residents' group.
We are now creating the fuss that needed to be created and I think they are finally listening," she said.
Ms Ziff said the association had come away with a meeting with both Mr McCormack and Wagga MP Joe McGirr to "nut out" the "disaster waiting to happen". She said the village was even willing to compromise and settle for a 1-in-60 year flood levee, but no less than that.
"We have only asked for a fair range, to start at 1-in-100 and work our way down to a fair levee that can be done quickly," she said.
Cr Conkey said the focus for the North Wagga levee has been to "get it right" and "build it once".
The construction of a flood levee for North Wagga has been paused as the council awaits the outcome of an independent review after residents rejected the proposed 1-in-20-year protection.
Cr Conkey said the residents' group had asked and supported the council's decision to put the project on hold.
"As far as vegetation is concerned, we are looking at slashing that vegetation ... as far as 1-in-100, we are looking at that .... it unfortunately does impact 2185 residents and so we need to look at that," Cr Conkey said.
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Mr McCormack said the main city levee was going to provide security for so many people living and working in Central Wagga, however he does understand the concerns raised by North Wagga residents.
"I understand too that they want every bit of security that they need, but what we do need is a levee bank that is going to protect as many residents as possible," he said.
"No matter how big you build a levee bank, no matter how high you raise houses in North Wagga or elsewhere, sadly, sometimes, unfortunately, people suffer and it's a fact of life."