Council disagreement over flood safety for new home
FLOOD risks in a Lockyer Valley town have caused disagreement to flair between councillors and their own officers.
A development permit application to build on a vacant block of land was recommended to be refused because of flooding concerns.
But council officers were told to go back to the drawing board, and explore options to conditionally approve the permit.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council planning officers noted in their report the block at 46 Coates St, Laidley, would be affected by both regional and local flooding events.
They found the area would be inundated by flood waters quickly and there might not be sufficient warnings for residents to leave the area.
The report therefore recommended refusing the application to build on the site.
However Councillor Chris Wilson, who grew up close to the proposed site, disputed this, saying for the flood level noted by the council officers, the rain in the local area would serve as a warning.
“60cm of water on that block is a lot of local rain, so I’d argue that there’s still a fair amount of warning,” Cr Wilson said.
He also noted it was unlikely the owner of the land would have considered they may not be able to build on the site before purchasing it, as it is neighboured by three already built houses.
“While I acknowledge, yeah, perhaps some due diligence wasn’t done, if it’s me and I bought a block of land and it’s bordered by three houses already there – it’s a fairly reasonable assumption you could build a house,” he said.
Councillor Janice Holstein told the meeting after the 2011 and 2013 floods, the council had found while it couldn’t stop residents rebuilding homes in flood prone areas, it did have the ability to stop new properties being built on vacant land.
She said while the council needed to pay up the risks and impacts of another 2013 flood, she too had issues with the recommendation to refuse the application.
“I also struggle with not allowing somebody to build on a block that they own,” Cr Holstein said.
The council instead voted to defer the application to its next meeting and ordered the planning officers to investigate whether conditions could be imposed on the development to ensure the safety of residents, while allowing the build to go ahead.