Keep the brolly and gumboots handy was the message from the Bureau of Meteorology at the pre-season preparedness seminar held in Emerald this week.
According to the Bureau we’re in for average rainfall, but because of high stream flows and wet soil there is a raised flood risk.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Councillor Kerry Hayes said while the outlook may be a little unsettling, council is a step ahead of any trouble as the long-awaited Nogoa River clearing project gets underway.
‘Two key projects will combat flood risk this summer, but clearing four sites along the river is paramount.
‘This first phase of the Nogoa River vegetation and soil removal project, which is happening now, will see approximately 300 000 cubic metres of soil removed from two sites at the river’s bend north of Emerald off Codenwarra Road,’ the mayor explained.
‘The other two sites are near the Vince Lester Bridge in the centre of Emerald.’
Michael McCosker, whose property adjoins the Codenwarra Road sites has expressed strong support for the project.
‘I have been working with the council on the community consultation process over the last few years discussing the option for excavation sites 10 and 11 on the Mac’s Meats paddock,’ Mr McCosker said.
‘After seeing the modelling the council has done on the project, I am confident this is a project that will contribute to protection of the livelihoods and safety of the Emerald community.
‘I believe this investment delivers significant flood mitigation with little impact on the community and it’s been a pleasure to work with a council that is proactive in achieving these outcomes.’
‘The second crucial flood risk management project is the New Street evacuation route, which is on track for completion by the end of November, well ahead of the wet season,’ Mayor Hayes said.
‘We have no doubt that raising New Street ensures residents in the vicinity have almost 25 hours more time to evacuate their property during a flood, based on what occurred in 2010.
The council also had a discussion with the Department of Transport and Main Roads in July to flag its recommendation to raise the Vince Lester and Queensland Rail bridges.
‘While no commitments were made, by the end of the meeting there was an agreement to take a look at the hydrology for themselves,’ said the mayor.
‘We will continue to advocate in earnest for this project, especially given the dual benefit of reducing the flooding, to some degree, and preserving evacuation routes.
‘Regardless of anything that council is doing, the message is still ‘get ready’. Council is doing what it can to prepare for the worst and it’s in everyone’s interest to do the same for their families and neighbours,’ the mayor concluded.