16 September 2014

66 Mitcham and Unley residents to lose........

The following article appeared  in the Mitcham and Hills Messenger last week. It is interesting to note that the Brown Hill Creek report has this model as the preferred option. The preferred option was chosen because it believes that this is what Councils wanted to achieve. The Nov 2012 motion that was passed in Unley asks that The Stormwater Management Authority investigate a no dam option as the preferred option. However, most Councillors thought they were voting for just another report to see what the outcome might be. This has been a failing of the current Council: again and again we have called for more and more reports when we didn't like the one we had or thought, often at the last minute, of other alternatives. I have found this approach to be frustrating and expensive, as well things that generally take quite a while to achieve are seeming to take forever. This has been particularly obvious in the management of the Brown Hill Creek project that has taken nearly 10 years so far! But moving on to the article below the easements are to be acquired for an estimated $3.2 million only $2 million more than for the dam option. If you do the maths the number would seem to be very low.

..on average 240sq m of land under new Brown Hill Creek plan
  • From: Mitcham & Hills Messenger
  • September 12, 2014 2:56PM
DOZENS of residents in Adelaide’s east face losing an average 240sq m of land under a plan to widen parts of Brown Hill Creek — a full tennis court is about 260sq m.
The backyards of as many as 66 residents in Mitcham and Unley will be impacted with proposed easement acquisition areas of between 25.2sq m to 712sq m.
Under the plan 229 trees also face the axe.
The plan, released last week, has caused outcry among some of the 66 homeowners who say the loss of land and environment will destroy the character of the area.
Members of Brown Hill Socket group have threatened legal action if the plan, designed to floodproof homes in the creek’s catchment area, goes ahead.
A steering group of staff from Mitcham, Unley, Burnside, West Torrens and Adelaide councils has proposed creating easements on properties along a 1.9km section the creek so it can be widened to cater for one-in-100-year peak flows.
The plan involves the five catchment councils spending $3.2 million to buy easements in 30 properties in Mitcham and 36 in Unley. The total cost of the plan would be $35.5 million.
Brownhill Socket Group spokesman Tom Pearce said many property owners opposed the plan and a dam was the best option for flood mitigation.
“We are in dismay that it has turned out this way and the result from the report means we are going to fight,” Mr Pearce said.
“People involved with the plan are being very vague about it all.”
Project reference group chair and West Torrens Council chief executive Terry Buss said widening and clearing the creek was the best option.
“It provides the level of flood protection that’s required across the catchment,” Mr Buss said.
“It meets the councils’ preference for a no-dam solution, it’s the lowest capital cost of all the options considered and also provides the lowest ongoing maintenance costs.”
He said new modelling showed predicted reduced rainfall would result in a 26 per cent reduction in regular flows and widening the creek bed or modifying creek banks at critical points would ensure it could cope with one-in-100-year peak flows.
Revised data also showed the number of properties impacted by a one-in-100-year flood over the entire Brown Hill Keswick Creek catchment was reduced from 7000 to 2000.
Of these 2000, about 400 at risk in significant flooding were in Mitcham and Unley councils.
The plan also calls for the removal of about 229 exotic trees, to be replaced with native trees along the banks.
The plan still needs to go through a public consultation process, which will finish by the end of March 2015, and the catchment council then need to approve the plan.
If approved, Mr Buss said councils would take 10-15 years to complete the work and the creek widening would be the last stage of the upgrade.
Widening the creek overrode previous options, which had been on the table since a 2006 Master Plan, including building an upstream dam in Mitcham and carving culverts into Unley streets.

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