DRAFT POLICY SETS FLOOD AREA STRATEGY

Bundaberg Regional Council today approved a Draft Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) that will define policy on rebuilding and development in areas flooded by the Burnett River in January 2013 to be sent to the State Government for approval.

To compliment the TLPI, the Council has also declared a Natural Hazard Management Area (Flood) that calls up standard State Government building controls for new building work within the same area.

Whilst the TLPI requires formal approval by the State Government, the new building controls called up by the Flood Hazard Area declaration will take effect immediately.

Mayor, Cr. Mal Forman said Council had developed the Draft TLPI within 34 days of the flooding event that devastated the community and inundated more than 2000 homes.

“Council recognised the importance of swiftly developing this document which will limit future construction that may increase risk to life or property. It will also ensure that any future development in the identified area is compatible with the nature of any flood hazard to which it may be exposed.”

Cr. Forman said the new policy, once adopted, would be in place for a maximum period of 12 months.

 “It will replace all existing planning scheme requirements in an area depicted in new maps and identified as the Burnett River Flood Hazard Area. The document does not impact on the broader Bundaberg Region.”

“With the Burnett River at the Bundaberg marker registering a flood height of 9.53m we have set the habitable floor level for new dwellings to be 300 mm above the 2013 flood level.  The exact level will vary from lot to lot, and people can contact Council’s Development Assessment Team for precise information about the applicable level for their land”.

Council’s Planning and Development portfolio spokesperson, Cr. Ross Sommerfeld said the TLPI would apply to new buildings, earthworks and subdivisions in the defined area.

“Residents in flood damaged homes are still able to repair their properties to previous planning scheme requirements but if they desire to raise their properties that may trigger a Development Assessment,” he said.

“Council wants to work with the community through this process. Normally, when a new policy document such as this is developed, we undertake a period of public notification and consultation.”

Cr. Sommerfeld said the urgent necessity of producing the document meant those criteria were waived. “It needs to be realised this is a temporary measure for a maximum period of 12 months.”

“Council planning officers are available for on site, one-on-one discussions with affected home owners and are willing to listen to, and take on board for consideration any proposal.”

“Ultimately this new policy is to assist those who have lost their homes or require a significant rebuild to be able to progress those plans and to get on with their lives.”

The draft policy also addresses issues of the use of water resistant construction materials and the requirement for emergency plans for businesses or where significant numbers of people are being housed.

Cr. Sommerfeld said it should be noted that Council was undertaking flood studies for other parts of the Bundaberg Region and these findings will be form a part of Council’s new Regional Planning Scheme which is still under development.

Cr. Forman said the State Government was well aware of the urgency relating to the TLPI and he envisaged a swift turnaround for the return of the policy to Council.

Date: 06-03-2013

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