Cr Vanessa Keenan Wagga Wagga City Council
Jenny Woods Community Member
Ros Prangnell Community Member
Cr Rod Kendall Wagga Wagga City Council
Cr Tim Koschel Wagga Wagga City Council
Jenny Rolfe Community Member
Nicholas Cooper Community Member
Caroline Angel Commercial Operations Sector Manager
Janice Summerhayes Community Sector Manager
Jon Gregory State Emergency Service
Steve Manwaring Office of Environment and Heritage
Stephen Jewell Manager Operations
Shaula Siregar Engineer - Water & Waste Assets
Sam Robins Town Planner
Tony Phelps Environmental Management Team Leader
Mark Gardiner Manager Environment & City Compliance
Harj Singh Manager City Development
David McDonald Strategic Town Planner
Graeme Elphick Member of the Public – Observer
Erin Askew WMAwater
Catherine Goonan WMAwater
Maree Ingram Administration Coordinator (Minute Taker)
The meeting of the Floodplain Risk Management Advisory Committee commenced at 8.30am.
Acknowledgement Of Country
I would like to Acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this Land, on which this meeting takes place and to pay my respects to Elders past and present.
INDUCTION OF NEW COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Governance officer, Nicole Johnson undertook a short induction of new committee members.
Confirmation of Minutes
That the confirmation of the Minutes of the proceedings of the Floodplain Risk Management Advisory Committee Meeting held on 22 February 2017 be deferred to the next Committee meeting due the lack of a quorum.
Declarations Of Interest
There were no Declarations of Interest
PROCEDURAL MOTION – ELECT A NEW CHAIRPERSON
That the committee defer the election of a Chairperson until the next Committee meeting due to the lack of a quorum.
Terms of Reference
That the committee defer the endorsement of the Floodplain Risk Management Advisory Committee Terms of Reference until the next Committee meeting due to the lack of a quorum.
Reports from Staff
Projects – MOFFS and FPRMS&P
S Manwarring provided an explanation to committee as to the difference between the Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan and the Major Overland Flood Flow Study and Plan. They are two separate projects that have interactions as some areas in the LGA that can be impacted by both the flooding of the Murrumbidgee River and overland flow.
R Prangnell – Are they new studies?
S Manwarring – The MOFFS is new, however the FPRMS&P had modelling undertaken in 2009 that required updating as a result of flood events and new technologies/information since that time.
E Askew – Both studies will have overarching information in respect to planning recommendations.
S Manwarring – Funding has recently been granted for the next stage of the Village Overland Flow Flood Studies including Ladysmith, Tarcutta and Uranquinty. This will be another project for the Committee.
S Jewell – The project is currently at the tender evaluation stage. A compulsory site meeting was held recently to minimise risk at the construction stage. Six to seven companies attended, however it is unknown as to whether any or all of these companies made a submission for the project. An update report on the progress of the tender process is expected to be provided to Council at it’s May meeting, with the final outcome of the tender process expected to be reported to Council in June with construction of stage 1 of the levee anticipated to commence on 1 September 2017.
Stephen Jewell vacated the Chamber at 9:25am
Janice Summerhayes vacated the Chamber at 9:55am
Presentation From WMAwater
Erin Askew and Catherine Goonan from WMAwater gave a presentation on the progress of Stage two of the review of the Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan which included Flood Damages, Hazard Categories and Floodplain Management Options. A copy of the presentation will be provided to committee members.
Questions raised in respect to Flood Modification Measures:
S Robins – When doing the BC analysis, do you take into consideration the vacant sites that have potential for future development?
E Askew – No only property damage is considered.
H Singh – Will the figures change with future development?
E Askew – We can only look at what is there now. Flood mitigation works should never be used in respect to Planning decisions for the future.
H Singh – Rural land use planning – future 9/10 villages. Whole thing will change, don’t have all info at this stage
E Askew – No
S Manwarring – how much higher would the Sturt Highway be increased?
E Askew – Up to 1.7m maximum, but this will depend on what protection the community wants or needs.
V Keenan – Increasing the height of the Sturt Highway would be reliant on the RMS not Council?
E Askew – Yes, this would be an RMS issue.
S Manwarring – There are grounds for comparison as the RMS are currently working a 30 year upgrade of the Sturt Highway west of Gillenbah
G Elphick – One would tend to think that the RMS would look at re-routing the Sturt Highway at Gumly as it would likely be more cost effective.
S Manwarring – Previous committee member Donna Argus pushed the argument that Gumly residents were willing to live with the floods.
J Woods – Emphasis seems to be placed on the financial cost of rebuilding properties after flood damage whereas flood community members are more concerned with improving community resilience, evacuation plans and timing.
S Robins – Impact required from Council re North Wagga, have to do an investigation re Gumly – equity,, fair system for all affected communities, now identified
G Elphick – Developments, such as Masters have, raised flood levels . Floods have changed, there have been different effects. Trees impact flows – lot of young trees and dense tree growth at North Wagga.
J Gregory – Does the bridge concept take into consideration the cost to Council to maintain levee etc during floods
E Askew – No it doesn’t, it will be considered however it is likely that it will have a minimal effect in reducing costs.
V Keenan – Wouldn’t any savings to Council be negated by ongoing maintenance costs of the proposed bridge?
V Keenan – It is great that a lot of the requests from community members, that may not be feasible, have been considered and investigated by WMAwater.
C Goonan – WMAwater are listening to the Community and will explain why some requests are not suitable.
J Woods – Have you costed either option without the Hampden Ave upgrade. Would there be a significant decrease in costs if the road was taken out of consideration. Steve Gray has advised at the previous consultation with North Wagga residents that there would be no impact if North Wagga levee was to be raised.
E Askew – What did the costings say?
J Woods – It didn’t include road upgrade/bridge concept.
S Manwarring – between $7m to $10M for North Wagga levee upgrade (high level costing) based on the design by NSW Public Works. Need to make a decision on what needs to be done re North Wagga.
J Woods – Some of the figures are different to what were provided previously by Steve Gray in a report to the community.
E Askew – We are not costing the road only focussing on the Benefit Cost (BC) ratio and that the total cost of road and levee upgrade need to be less the $14m.
C Goonan – The focus is on risk to life, therefore we have to couple the two together (road and levee).
S Manwarring – There is the factor of Emergency Management that must be taken into consideration as well.
J Woods – The option of upgrading levees has been around for some time.
E Askew – if only the levee is raised, to 5% (1 in 20 years) or 1% (1 in 100 years) without upgrading the road access, SES would still evacuate at 10% (1 in 10 years) because Hampden Ave access only gives protection at 10% (1 in 10 years).
J Woods – Discussion is centred around AAD (Average Annual Damage) which is property based only without considering emotional and psychological damage.
E Askew – Social consequences are talked about in the report. A multi criteria assessment is used which includes social consequences.
C Goonan – There are benefits that are not quantifiable.
S Manwarring – These are intangible elements
E Askew – The intangible elements are assessed using multi criteria.
R Prangnell – The figures quoted are based on bricks and mortar.
J Woods – There is also a need to consider the financial costs relating to social welfare and psychological impact
C Goonan – Is there a way of putting a $ cost on these areas?
J Woods – You would need to review hospital/medical costs incurred by residents following a flood event although this may not be a true measure due to some residents being psychologically affected but not seeking medical assistance.
J Woods – The presentation assumes that people will not support an increase in levee height due to reduced visual amenity. I can advise that people who live in North Wagga like levees, not everyone wants to see the river.
R Prangnall – Were the AADs based on Property value figures?
E Askew – There are standard formulas used to determine AAD which includes the value of the structures and their contents.
V Keenan – There may be the potential to capture the psychological/social welfare impact as part of the short term flood recovery process (after flood event).
S Robins – In respect to the to social welfare and psychological impact, the BC ratio analysis has a community section that gets a score. This section is related to the views of the community.
S Robins – according to the report, if North Wagga levee was to be raised to 20% or 1 %, it will have impacts on other properties outside of the North Wagga levee. Even if the impacts is only plus or minus 0.01m, it is still deemed unacceptable and can be challenged in court. The flood impacts on other properties outside North Wagga levee is higher than 0.01m so the FRMAC need to consider this when determining recommendations.
E Askew – No definite legal figure on flood impacts however 0.01m is the recommended figure for unacceptable impact.
S Robins – With regard to the 157 raised dwellings, does this number exclude those already raised?
E Askew – Floor level data base is of all affected properties and that shows 157.
S Robins – Whatever options chosen, they are not going to affect Planning controls greatly regardless of development options.
E Askew – With a 5% upgrade, the FPA (Flood Planning Area) would still apply inside the North Wagga levee. Council needs to make a decision re 1% upgrade – whether a form of FPA still applies.
S Manwarring – There are options within the options – could look at 5% levee without Hampden Avenue upgrade.
E Askew – There would be negligible impacts, less if the raising of Hampden Avenue is excluded.
S Manwarring – Removing the blockages (levees) along Hampden Ave – does that impact many properties?
E Askew – With a 5% levee upgrade and replacing Hampden Avenue with an overland bridge (and excavating existing road embankment to surrounding natural surface level): In a 2% event – 85 properties are further affected in East Wagga, very small change in flood levels but even this small change affects the frequency of event in which properties are first flooded.
S Manwarring – OEH has funded many projects with a BC ratio of less than 1. A cost benefit ratio of 0.5 is still viable but you may have more trouble getting the funding. What do the residents of North Wagga want?
J Woods – North Wagga residents want a 1 in 100 year levee.
J Gregory – Do the residents of North Wagga understand the costs of impacts that the SES still have ii the residents choose to stay and then have to be evacuated?
J Woods – I live in a flood community, there is a sense of community, most of the people in North Wagga know that if the levee overtops they will need to get out. I do not think that people need education, you underestimate the members of the community – people will leave if there is a threat of flooding. The majority of the North Wagga community is an aging population who are not resistant to being evacuated.
E Askew – An aging population increases the flood risk therefore it is better to put something in place that reduces the risk to life, such as not raising the levee without upgrading the access road.
J Woods – There is a tangible cost when people return.
E Askew – There is a need to look at the equity of other communities if the North Wagga levee is increased. Current modelling upgraded since 2012, prior to this modelling would not have included floor level data base as these were only surveyed last year.
S Manwarring – Properties outside the levee only had their floor levels investigated last year.
E Askew – What would the Committee like to see moving forward re North Wagga, what else?
S Manwarring – Some more detailed costings re the bridge concept. I imagine this would be like a viaduct with big culverts that would handle 5% AEP – how long would it have to be?
G Elphick – The DMR built a bridge in the late 1950’s just downstream of the Parken Preagan bridge, it got washed away. A structure similar to the one over the Kyeamba Creek at Alfredtown is what is required for North Wagga to stop the water obstructions.
S Robins – Further analysis on the option of 1 in 100years levee at North Wagga appears to be an unrealistic option as WMAwater is not supporting this. The 5% option is more realistic. Why would we pay someone to do extra investigations on the 1 in 100years option? Would WMAwater ever get to the point of supporting it without the bridge. If Council chooses to go against the recommendations of WMAwater, this will increase Council’s level of risk.
S Manwarring – Need to rule out options that are not acceptable, rule out options of elevated access.
E Askew – What are the views of the SES in respect to risk to life?
J Gregory – Recent Lismore floods – people stayed, still had to be evacuated due to the fast velocity of the floodwaters.
J Woods – How does WMAwater know that the cost of levee upgrade with the elevated road access is going to be more than $14M?
E Askew – A rough estimate has been undertaken and it will cost approximately $30m for the Hampden Avenue bridge concept.
S Manwarring – Council need to make a decision re what options they want to progress with, I can’t tell whether OEH would fund a variation for an increase in the main city levee funding if north wagga levee was to be raised to 1% until such time as the application has been presented to OEH.
S Robins – Need to carefully think about the route that you want to go down.
S Manwarring – Need to study the assessment options further prior to recommendations going into the plan. Need further info re North Wagga.
J Woods – Why aren’t we considering a 100yr levee with an access bridge?
V Keenan – The committee cannot really make any recommendations until we have further input from staff and given that the meeting does not have a quorum as well.
E Askew – The point of today is to rule out completely the unviable options. WMAwater need to assess both options for North Wagga (1% and 5%) and come back to the committee with a report (summary).
R Prangnell – Is there a cost on disadvantages for flood impacts on other communities outside North Wagga in regards to the North Wagga levee being increased (either 1% or 5%)?
E Askew – There is an overall reduction in AAD. We can separate properties impacted and cost for each community. We are presenting net value today although we do have individual information.
S Manwarring – If the 1% option is chosen for North Wagga levee there is a need to build in the extra cost to increase the Main City levee.
E Askew – WMAwater will undertake an assessment of 1% and 5% for North Wagga including bridge concept.
S Manwarring – There is an option of removing the temporary levees at North Wagga, it would just mean that residents would have to evacuate earlier.
Vegetation Management Plan
T Phelp – The map indicating the benefits of vegetation removal is unlabelled is it a 1% AEP model
E Askew – Yes
G Elphick – There is a lot of thick trees at North Wagga that have grown over the last 30 years. I have a photo before Hampden bridge built that shows the area as being quite open. Trees retard floodwater flow downstream. Have you got any calculations on the impact of vegetation on floodwater flow?
E Askew – A detailed analysis was done in 2012 and this showed that the increase in vegetation has changed the characteristic of the flood plain.
G Elphick – To reduce the flood level by 300mm maybe some trees need to go to reduce the impact at North Wagga, we cannot wait for natural progression/death of trees.
E Askew – Council will be able to manage vegetation with the Vegetation Management Plan.
G Elphick – Need to clean channels to allow quicker movement of water.
V Keenan – Will the Vegetation Management Plan go on Public Exhibition?
E Askew – yes
S Manwarring – LLS need to review and comment on the Plan.
V Keenan – Will the community options such as Malebo Hill still be referenced in the report if they are discounted?
E Askew – Yes
V Keenan – Can a copy of the WMAwater presentation be made available to the committee?
E Askew – Yes
QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE
No Questions With Notice were received.
The Floodplain Risk Management Advisory Committee rose at 10.55am.