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Nightmare on Whiteman St

09 Jun 2016

Nightmare on Whiteman St Image

Exacerbated flooding problems, rubbish and debris and now a rat plague are some of the issues local residents are dealing with as a result of Yarra Trams’ upgrades to the Whiteman St tram junction.

Pictures captured by a resident earlier last month during heavy rainfall shows the Whiteman St and Clarendon St areas inundated by knee-deep flood levels.

Local traders have also expressed concerns, with owners from the local IGA on Clarendon St saying that their store has experienced water damage on a number of occasions.

Whiteman St resident Trevor Downie, who first wrote to Southbank Local News on the issue after Yarra Trams had completed construction in January, has now expressed concerns over rats.

Mr Downie said his building manager had recently informed residents that a plague of rats had taken over the building’s car park facilities as a result of increased flooding.   

“The rats are taking refuge inside our garage, my car space has hundreds of rat droppings in it and last night I saw rats running past my feet as I exited my car. The smell of their droppings is terrible,” he said.

“No doubt the constant flooding of the storm water drains is causing this plague. I am sick to death of the lazy council doing nothing about this issue whilst residents suffer from the consequences.”

Vue Grande resident K.K. Choy said that while the area had been prone to flooding for a long time, the issues residents were now dealing with had never been this bad.

“This has been an issue for many years and will continue to be an issue unless something is done,” he said.

Southbank Local News understands council has identified an issue through CCTV inspection of the drains on the south side of Whiteman St, where there is a localised reduction in pipe diameter at the Clarendon St intersection.

The City of Melbourne is working with Yarra Trams to install a new drain near the new tram stop in the Whiteman St reserve.

It is also awaiting approval from a number of authorities to excavate a test hole in the pedestrian crossing at the corner of Clarendon St, to identify the location of all underground services so that a proposal can be developed to improve drainage efficiency.

A City of Melbourne spokesperson said that while recent flooding in the area had been caused by “a number of coinciding astronomical and climactic effects”, works by Yarra Trams had affected the drainage operation at the north side of Whiteman St.

“Consequently there has been persistent flooding in this area of Southbank, which is a flood-prone area,” the spokesperson said.

“It is also likely that the recent Yarra Trams port junction works exacerbated the incidence of flooding in Whiteman St. We are working closely with Yarra Trams on this issue and a design solution is expected to be finalised by August.”

“Once the design solution is complete, we will seek agreement from Yarra Trams to conduct drainage diversion works.”

“In the interim, council’s road maintenance provided is undertaking regular inspections and drain cleaning to mitigate the extent of flooding in the area.”

Southbank Local News had also sought answers from Yarra Trams’ earlier this year regarding landscaping and the provision of green space, which it promised as part of its original designs for the upgraded junction.

Yarra Trams spokesperson Simon Murphy said that such works had been deferred until the optimum planting time and that it was working with council to mitigate flooding.

“Landscaping, including the installation of trees, is due to begin soon and be complete by mid-July,” he said.

“All storm water is connected to the Yarra River and the escape of water into the drainage system relies heavily on tides as well as the severity of rain events.”

“Yarra Trams will provide any advice required by the City of Melbourne about potential changes that council may consider to its storm water assets.”

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