Bad Decision to subdivide flood prone land

Bad Decision to subdivide flood prone land

Picture courtesy of ABC Newcastle – Branxton in the June 2007 flood

Last week’s Council decision to approve the subdivision of residential blocks on land that we can expect to be 3 metres under water in a big flood was a bad one said Greens Councillor James Ryan.

The land is a Branxton and, while there are already houses on the 2000 square metre blocks the subdivision sets a precedent for doubling or tripling the number of houses that would be flooded in that area.

‘It is ironic that at a time when residents of northern NSW and southern Queensland were being evacuated from their homes as a result of floodwater, Cessnock Council made this decision to subdivide severely floodprone land.’

'Planning is about more than the opportunity for people to make money. 
The long term safety and well being of the whole community must be our guide. 
As the people of Brisbane learned a year ago, it is not a good idea to keep 
approving houses on flood prone land.' said Councillor Ryan.

'This is doubly so when Councillors were informed that due to potential liability 
issues, Council’s consultant engineers declined to provide conditions.'

'What makes our situation worse' said Clr Ryan 'Is the resolution passed by 
Council allows a dwelling to be built half a metre below the most recent estimates 
of the 1/100 flood level.'

'I have asked for advice as whether the Council and Councillors could be subject 
to legal action as a result of ignoring the engineer's advice if future purchasers 
of those housing lots suffered damage.' Clr Ryan said.

'As many people know home and contents insurance packages often exclude 
flood damage (but include storm damage). Therefore if future houses (or their 
contents) on these properties were damaged by flood there may be no insurance 
payable in normal household packages and the Council's irresponsible decision 
may make us liable for the damage (we would pay with ratepayers money of course).

'I will be moving at the next Council meeting to overturn this decision and receive 
full legal advice regarding Council's exposure to future liability.' said Clr Ryan.

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