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Council’s “highest drainage priority”

08 Sep 2016

Council’s “highest drainage priority” Image

Following more heavy rain in recent months, Whiteman St’s flooding issues continue to cause anger to local residents.

The City of Melbourne has labeled the issue as its “highest drainage priority” despite having stated in June that a design solution was expected to be complete by August.   

A council spokesperson said a draft concept design had been completed but ongoing geotechnical investigation would take a further six weeks to complete.

Southbank Local News has continued to receive letters from local residents expressing their frustration at having to wade through water to get to their homes on wet days.

Whiteman St resident Peter Gibbs said the speed at which authorities were handling the issue was “from the primitive era”.

“As a resident along this street I can’t tell you how frustrated I am with the condition of this street,” he said. “Am I living in Southbank or is it Floodbank?”

“I am curious to know if I should be paying rates for the days I can not safely access my home due to flooded road and paths.”

“Would council be interested in paying my clothes washing bills for the times I need to walk along flooded paths? Or could council provide me with taxi vouchers so the taxi can drop me at my front door step?”

Residents and business owners along Whiteman and Clarendon streets have been suffering flooding issues in the area for many years in what is a low-lying area of Southbank.

While being located in a flood plain has caused challenges to council workers over many years, council said in June that Yarra Trams’ port junction works in February “exacerbated the incidence of flooding”.

While the result has seen flood levels increase over the past year during heavy rainfall, Whiteman St resident Michael Ratcliff described council’s drainage works at the site to date as “third-rate”.

“The results of removing car parks, drains and banking-up half the road in an already problematic area could have been foreseen by an eight-year-old,” he said.

“It beggars belief that the council would wait until the winter rains hit before attempting to rectify the problem. Particularly since residents alerted them to the flooding in February.”

Despite council’s earlier claims of exacerbated flooding, a Yarra Trams spokesperson said the organisation would leave commenting on drainage issues to the City of Melbourne.

A City of Melbourne spokesperson confirmed council was still working with Yarra Trams to construct a new drain to resolve the flooding issues around the port junction works.

Having identified a localised reduction in drainpipe diameter at the Clarendon St intersection in May via CCTV inspection, the spokesperson confirmed that upgrades had been completed last month in response to the issue.

The spokesperson also stated that council was exploring the possibility of installing a storm water pump system.

“We are currently investigating the feasibility of retrofitting a storm water pump system to the drainage network to overcome this issue,” the spokesperson said. “Due to the low lying nature of the area, much of the existing storm water pipes also sit lower than the water level in the Yarra River. This makes draining the area challenging.”

“Works were also completed on the corner of Whiteman St and Clarendon St on August 6 to improve drainage inefficiency identified by our CCTV inspection of the drains.”

“It is expected that these improvements will allow floodwaters to recede quicker.”

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