Residents living in fear of floods

WITH Friday marking three years since floods devastated the Surfrider Caravan Park, residents are asking why nothing has been done.

The Barrack Heights park was inundated on March 21, 2011, after 250 millimetres fell on the region - 173 of 180 sites were flooded.

An emergency evacuation plan was implemented in June 2012, but resident Marie McCormick said people still became nervous when it rained.

"We've got an implement that measures the height of the water at the lowest point," she said.

"As soon as it gets to a certain height, we get everybody evacuated, so we're doing our best in case of flooding but unfortunately with all this consultancy that takes place, we're still waiting for the results from [Shellharbour City Council].

"If rain continues for three or four days, every resident will be rattled because they're worried about the creek coming up again."

Ms McCormick said the amount of water had increased as Flinders and Shell Cove took shape.

"That's where we're getting a lot of the water from now because it's got to come down, I've never known water to run uphill yet," she said.

"It's got to come down the creek and that's what we're copping."

Ms McCormick said the three consultants' reports had recommended widening the bridge at Barrack Avenue.

"It'll allow the water to get away," she said.

"As it is now, the water comes from a wide area, goes into a narrow area and spreads out past the creek, so the creek's really a gate that's holding it back."

But while she thought the council's hands were tied waiting for the consultants, Ms McCormick said the time it was taking for consultants to compile their information for a recommendation in June was not fast enough.

"I think it's disgusting - three years, three months.

"It's just too long," she said.

The Elliott Lake floodplain risk management study began in 2012 and is expected to be complete by June - a plan will follow.

A Shellharbour City Council spokeswoman said the study was originally expected to take up to three years and it was on track.

"Flood mitigation options are being considered in detail at Barrack Avenue bridge and will be reported on in the draft floodplain risk management study and plan," she said.

However, Ms McCormick said having a plan still did not necessarily mean action.

"We'll have to wait for money from the state government - we could be waiting for another 10 years," she said.

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