Seven years on from the devastating 2013 flood, calls have reignited in the community for the Bundaberg East Levee to be delivered.
Following extensive community consultation and design work in 2013, the Bundaberg East Levee was added to the State Government’s flood action plan at an estimated cost of $80 million.
Rowan Bond headed the Community Reference Group (CRG) formed to provide feedback and advice from residents to Council and the State Government.
It’s been seven years since the group delivered its recommendations.
Rowan has been left frustrated by the delay in building the flood levee, which he believes provides the highest cost benefit of any flood mitigation measure.
“It’s been through a number of fact checks, so to speak, by expert groups engaged by the State Government,” Rowan said.
“Basically, with minor comments, the CRG’s position on what should be done has been vindicated.
“As far as the CRG goes we really just don’t understand, what is the hold up?
“It’s about time that they stop putting pen to paper and someone actually picks up a shovel and starts doing it.”
Rowan said he and other CRG members put in a lot of work following the floods under the assumption that the work would be carried out “pretty well straight away”.
“It’s not that nothing has been done but nothing in that particular area has been done,” he said.
“The most important one is still waiting in the wings.
“It’s a pretty important project, particularly for the CBD. Nothing that’s happened since has taken it from the top of the list.”
If the Bundaberg East Levee was delivered, East Bundaberg Sports Club freehold property owner Kelvin McIntyre believes many businesspeople, himself included, would invest more money in the region.
“I know with the sports club we would inject a couple of million dollars into the freehold property if it was protected; a major redevelopment of the club,” Kelvin said.
“Then you’ve got protection and you’re not worried about flood insurance as well.
“I think there would be a lot of other people in that same headset.”
The 2013 flood sent eight feet of water through his property, taking 18 months to repair.
That meant a loss of income and reduced fundraising opportunities for the junior and senior rugby league teams and the bowls club.
“It caused astronomical damage,” Kelvin said.
“It’s not only East Bundaberg [the flood levee would benefit] it’s Targo Street, The Melbourne Hotel; it just protects a lot of freehold property.
“Without a doubt it would give the biggest bang for buck … it would give a lot of people confidence going forward.”
The Bundaberg East Levee would also provide flood protection to Meals on Wheels which was basically “wiped out” in 2013 according to president Jeff McColl.
“The flood level was probably around windowsill height,” Jeff said.
“We had to replace all cold rooms, freezers, all the rest of it.”
The group rallied and only missed one day of deliveries through it all but nonetheless Jeff’s in no rush to relive a similar event and said the Bundaberg East Levee would be valuable.
“It would certainly be of benefit there is no question about that.”