The construction of new automated flood gates at the East Mirrool Regulator in Yenda has commenced, setting most of the Yenda community’s mind at rest.
Residents now wait in hope for their insurance policy costs to decrease once the EMR Emergency Breaching Protocols report has been signed by officials, bringing around 200 houses classified as ‘flood storage’ to ‘flood free’.
Yenda Progress Association president Kay Pellizzer pleased with the progress, and is hopeful the gates will prevent another disaster like the floods of 2012.
"I was very, very pleased with it and really happy that something is getting done to that we won’t flood again,” Mrs Pellizzer said.
An official party including mayor John Dal Broi, Murrumbidgee Irrigation (MI) CEO Brett Jones and member for Murray Austin Evans officially turned over the first sod of the works on Monday.
The gates “will provide improved control of water flows and quicker recovery in case of flooding,” Councillor Dal Broi said.
“MI will maintain and operate these gates and council would like to thank them for their ongoing involvement and work.”
The construction has resulted in collaboration between council, MI, Bureau of Meteorology, State Emergency Service and Department of Primary Industries Office of Water, who now all have a clear direction in all aspects of monitoring and responding to Mirrool Creek flood events.
Cr Dal Broi said he was pleased to see outstanding work that had been done to prevent future flooding. At the Floodplain Management Australia conference in June, council staff received a special commendation in the ‘Flood Risk Management Project of the Year’ category for their work in installing the first flood warning system in the Mirrool Creek Catchment.
MI CEO Brett Jones said it was great to see hard work pay off with this last part of the project.
“After what happened in 2012, to learn lessons from that. We have worked really well with council in the last two and a half years,” Mr Jones said.
“They’ve lead it and we have fully supported it all the way through.”
A public meeting between council and the Yenda community on September 18 saw the draft outline of the EMR Emergency Breaching Protocols and decision support framework report laid out.
While thankful to the work the respective bodies had done to get the project up and running, Paul Rossetto is waiting to see if the cost of house insurance will be reduced as a result..
“Yenda people are very relieved to see the replacement flood gates installed six and a half years after the devastating flood of 2012,” Mr Rossetto said.
“I am worried these replacement gates are only a half ARI backed up by a breaching protocol… Yenda residents are patiently waiting for the full ARI flood mitigating status to reduce their house insurance flood … and save up to $5000 per policy.”
Lui Forner sat in on the meetings with council for the last couple of years, and says he is happy with the way things are progressing.
“I’ve been on the committee, and to see it up there like that, it’s amazing. We can argue if this and if that, but at the end of the day we are grateful that they are putting that up there the way it is,” Mr Forner said,
“Once the protocols are in place, it’s covers more than one in one hundred year flood because they have excavated both sides.
“That is security.”
Three levels of government have chipped in to fund the $1.2 million project to restore decommissioned flood gates, with $400,000 put in by state, federal governments and council in the project.
Member for Murray Austin Evans welcomed the start of construction, which will afford much needed flood immunity to Yenda and surrounding areas.
In 2012 the Yenda Floods caused $100 million worth of damage.