May 10th 2011
Roberts updates Islanders on Apjohn drainage, waste and more
Magnetic Island Councillor Trevor Roberts addressed the monthly meeting of Magnetic Island Residents and Ratepayers Association (MIRRA) on Saturday providing an update on a range of Island issues of which the most talked about was the current damage to Apjohn Street near Horseshoe Bay Road from recent flooding as well as the long term solution to ongoing flooding of the area.
John Beatson and John Wicking, both residents of the affected area, presented an extensive power point display illustrating the massive flows of water which can easily occur at Apjohn Street as well as the Corica Estate below it. (see youtube here)
The damage, which is yet to be repaired, has left two gaping fissures along both sides of the street and residents are fearful that pedestrians will injure themselves if safety barricades are not carefully maintained until repairs - which can only happen once the water table drops - are completed.
Apjohn on one side And the other
The area has always been lowland and close to the water table and some at the meeting commented on the inappropriateness of development in the area generally. But, as the area was approved by former councils the present day residents were there to hear how council could help resolve the very obvious drainage mistakes which have been exacerbated by poor planning from the past.
John Beatson expressed fairly simply what the residents want which is a new culvert underneath Horseshoe Bay Road and a drain capable of carrying the flood water down the south side of Apjohn Street until it meets the canal between Corica Crescent and Sandals estate. He quoted a Townsville Flood Assessment Study from 2005 which recommended a similar solution.
Another resident, Julie Carmody, said that a further 60 residents from the area had been asked not to attend the meeting in the hope that it would be more constructive for Cr Roberts to work with a smaller representation. One resident particularly affected and cut off by the water-filled hole is, according to Julie Carmody, “totally incapacitated in a wheel chair”
Another resident Jenny Rogers, told of her great fear that children could be sucked under the road through the present pipe and later we learned that this in fact did happen to two children who fortunately survived. Clearly the residents were not happy.
Cr Roberts was, however, very aware of the problem and is clearly trying to move to solve it. He noted that the location required the relocation of power lines and that the engineers’ reports are still to be finalised and commented that he wasn’t, “sure that drainage down the left (southern) side of Apjohn would capture everything.” He would however invite locals to meet with him and the engineers once they had something ready. His timeframe for this to happen was, “the next couple of months” expecting work to happen “before the next wet”
Cr Roberts also advised that the council’s waste transfer station report, which followed a protest by residents over the future transfer station’s location at Picnic Bay, was “almost completed” and “includes an in depth look at costs” which, while not wishing to pre-empt the document, Cr Roberts believes will show that Picnic Bay and Cockle Bay are “fairly close in price”.
As the judged costs would be sensitive to the tendering process the figures would not be revealed to the public and, instead of being passed through the council’s committee system, the overall decision would go straight to the full council on May 24.
According to Cr Roberts, the plans for the Cockle Bay option only include the waste transfer station but, he agreed when questioned, that, if the transfer station were to be built at Cockle Bay, it would be cost effective that other functions associated with a light industrial area, be all located together. (read here)
Cr Roberts also claimed that an another sewerage plant would eventually need to be added on the Picnic Bay side of the present plant.
While remaining tight-lipped about the final transfer station decision, Cr Roberts also commented, “I don’t see Nelly Bay as an option (for the location of the transfer station). Reaching a decision is however a matter of increasing urgency as, Cr Roberts claimed, “The (present) landfill has 18 months (space left). If the transfer station is not built by then we will have to take all waste directly to Townsville.”
Cr Roberts spoke about other issues including the generally very poor state of the Island’s roads. Since the damage caused by the record wet season and Cyclone Yasi Cr Roberts said, “take a bus trip through Townsville and it is the same as here. “Magnetic Island is not being ignored but we don’t know how we can get enough money to rebuild all the roads but we are expecting $100M from the federal government in disaster relief funding.”
Story and photos: George Hirst
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