Five years after floods devastated the Yenda community, its citizens still lack concrete protection, with debate erupting over how best to stop the town flooding again in the future.
In December, Griffith City councillors voted to apply for funding to reinstate the decommissioned flood gates at the Yenda East Mirrool Regulator.
It is a move a group of concerned residents say is not good enough, believing it is only capable of protecting their homes from a one-in-50-year flood event.
“What we want is for council to design new automated flood gates on both banks of the Canal, capable of mitigating a one-in-100-year flood event,” president of the Yenda Flood Victims Association Paul Rossetto said. Mr Rossetto said the 2016 Yenda rain event was a one-in-five-year rain event and was only ‘just’ managed.
The frustration felt by the group was expressed by Gladys Cannard, who said the town wanted less talk and more action. “They say flat out they won’t let Yenda flood again, but they still haven’t done anything,” she said.
Griffith City Council’s Brett Stonestreet said while the option of the automated flood gates was originally recommended, it had never been discussed by the flood management committee who had previously decided to pursue funding for a Lawson siphon. This decision was reversed due to timing and money concerns.
“The cost estimate for both these options was the same, in excess of $10 million,” he said. “That would mean securing an $8 million grant … the likelihood of which is very remote.” Mr Stonestreet said the community would be waiting a decade for either of the two options, with ratepayers having to foot the cost of the difference.
He said council’s application would mean Yenda having action in two to three years, assuring the community the gates would be supplemented by publicly released documented protocols tied to specific water flows to protect the town.
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