Northern Lakes Floodplain Study open for community consultation

A draft Northern Lakes Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan is now open for the final stage of community consultation until March 15.

The Northern Lakes Catchment of 33.5 square kilometres includes the suburbs immediately surrounding Lake Munmorah, Budgewoi Lake and the northern part of Tuggerah Lake, from Tuggerawong and Norah Head in the south to Lake Munmorah in the north.

Council engaged consultants, Manly Hydraulics Laboratory (MHL), and is also working on several initiatives to manage flood risk in collaboration with the Bureau of Meteorology and the State Emergency Service.

These initiatives include land use planning controls, infrastructure planning, management procedure, adaption planning for foreshore suburbs, flood awareness education and emergency management planning.

The study is an assessment of the social, economic, environmental and cultural issues and costs and benefits of all options put forward to manage flood risk.

Council has flood maps for the main waterways which give an indication of areas that will most likely be affected by various flood events, and for a fee, Council can provide flood levels for individual properties.

In the report by Manly Hydraulics flood modification options to make the final short list to be further investigated are: culvert/drainage upgrades at Greenacre Ave, Lake Munmorah; Crossingham St, Canton Beach; Moss Ave, Toukley; Cooranga Rd, Wyongah; Lett St, Gorokan; as well as an upgrade to a detention basin in Gorokan Park.

Another proposal is channel clearing at Woodland Parkway Reserve, Budgewoi, subject to an environmental impact assessment.

An analysis of benefit-cost ratio shows that work at Lett St, Gorokan, with an estimated cost of $1,085,000, and Woodland Parkway Reserve in Budgewoi ($642,000), both have strong economic merit and recommended high priority.

Greenacre Ave, Lake Munmorah ($829,000) and Crossingham St, Canton Beach ($1,344,000) had moderate economic merit and medium priority, but Moss Ave, Toukley; Cooranga Rd, Wyongah and a detention basin at Gorokan Park rated poor economic merit.

Many other flood mitigation measures are recommended in the report and include the impact of climate change, an improved flood warning system, emergency response planning as well as a range of education and awareness programs for residents, schools and businesses.

In previous community consultation in 2018 to identify trouble spots, the key points arising were: kerb and gutter construction, drainage upgrades and maintenance; channel management or a dredging plan; investigation of a secondary lake opening; maintenance of creeks/wetlands; and, improved development control to prevent over-development.

The comprehensive Northern Lakes Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan can be viewed online at Council’s website or in print at Toukley Library, and submissions will be accepted until 5pm on March 15.

There will be two drop-in information sessions where staff will be available to answer any questions about the study and plan.

They will be on Tuesday, March 2 from 4pm to 7pm at Blue Haven Community Hall, 1 Apsley Ct and the other on Wednesday, March 3, from 4pm to 7pm, at Halekulani Community Hall on the oval at 107 Scenic Dr, Budgewoi.

For those who can’t attend, one-on-one online sessions can be booked by going to Council’s website.

Following this round of community consultation, the plan will be reviewed and revised if necessary from public feedback, and the final draft of the plan will go to a future Council meeting for consideration of approval.

Sue Murray