UPDATE 2PM A flooding advisory group member has criticised the approval of a new planning scheme for flood prone areas in the region, which will impact thousands of properties in the municipality, calling it a “farce”.
The state government recently gazetted planning overlay changes across Greater Bendigo, which is designed to provide protection to areas considered at greater flood risk.
Around 5000 properties will be affected, with some suggesting house insurance prices could rise as a result.
The changes could also impact where and how housing developments can take place.
The North Central Catchment Management Authority and Bendigo council commissioned the Urban Flood study in 2013 to ensure new development in or near floodplains was, according to the council, “designed appropriately to protect assets, life and the floodplain, it is critical that this new flood information is introduced to the planning scheme”.
Epsom Huntly Drainage Committee member Lindsay Sargeant described the decision as a “farce”, suggesting the study was inaccurate.
“We are concerned about where we are going with it because there are big issues that pits anecdotal evidence against scientific evidence from the (Urban Flood) study,” he said.
“It appears to me the council wants to bulldoze their way through this as they like to do with other issues and move and not address the community concerns,” Mr Sargeant said.
“To me the whole thing is a farce.”
Mr Sergeant said anecdotal evidence of people living in the Huntly, Epsom areas for more than 40 years was not considered throughout the process and the committee has consistently tried to raise the issue with the City of Greater Bendigo to no avail.
COGB statutory planning manager Ross Douglas said extensive consultation occurred with the community during preparation of the Urban flood study, including with the Epsom Huntly Drainage Committee.
He said further work was conducted by COGB, including commissioning and independent review of the study.
“All flood studies are an approximation of behaviour rather than being 100 per cent accurate because of complex and varying flood behaviour. The new mapping is vastly more accurate than what the City had available previously,” he said.
“Council has committed to further review flood mapping once mitigation works have been undertaken, such as levee banks and filling.”
EARLIER Changes stemming from a divisive study into flooding risks across the region have been applied by the state government, which will affect thousands of properties in the municipality. Dubbed “one of the largest and most comprehensive urban flood studies undertaken in Victoria”, the urban flood study examined which areas and properties needed greater protection for potential flood events.
The North Central Catchment Management Authority and the city commissioned the study to ensure that new development in or near floodplains was “designed appropriately to protect assets, life and the floodplain, it is critical that this new flood information is introduced to the planning scheme”.
The new planning scheme makes a number of changes, which affects 5000 properties, including;
- Removing Environmental Significance Overlay from approximately 1,200 properties located within 100 metres of constructed or non-designated water ways
- Removing the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay from all land in the study area (approximately 2,000 properties)
- Applying Land Subject to Inundation Schedule 1 to approximately 4,000 properties (liable to flooding of up to 350mm in a one-in-100 year flood event)
- Applying Land Subject to Inundation Overlay Schedule 2 to about 1,500 properties that are liable to flooding or more than 350mm in a one-in-100 year flood event
- Applying Special Building Overlay Schedule 1 to approximately 392 properties (where the capacity of storm water drainage is exceeded)
- Applying Special Building Overlay Schedule 2 to about 327 properties (land protected by the Bendigo Creek earthen levee)
Results of the initial study attracted a number of public objections – many of which questioned the accuracy of the data on which the study was informed – and were sent to an independent planning panel to resolve.
One of the objectors, Huntly resident Lindsay Sargeant said an over-reliance on technical data had muddled the study.
“I have lived here in the same place for all my 68 years, and my neighbour is 82 and he’s lived there all his life, he knows where water goes in a huge flood and their figures are wrong,” he said at the time.
“The big issue is that people’s valuations will be drastically affected by data that I don’t believe is correct. I know one person whose insurance premium went up $7000.”
***Use the map below to see if your property is impacted.
Former Bendigo councillor Peter Cox said in 2016 the main changes would impact on where developments could take place and the cost of insurance to properties.
City of Greater Bendigo director of strategy and growth Bernie O’Sullivan said the study and flooding controls would assist future land use planning and development decisions and help minimise risks to the Bendigo community from flooding.
“This amendment affects a large number of residents and we encourage anyone who would like more information to contact the city for assistance,” he said.
Meanwhile, controls have been placed on areas in Ascot, Bendigo, East Bendigo, Epsom, North Bendigo, and White Hills as part of Stage 2 of the White Hills and East Bendigo Heritage Study, which aimed to identify and protect the region’s heritage assets.