The Continuing Saga of Lagoons Estate Nelson Bay

1. Lagoons Estate underwater days after the rain event of March 2021. Photo: Marian Sampson.

 

THE Lagoons Estate development has been plagued by flooding since it was built and the costs to the community have stacked up.

Lagoons Estate comprises 8.44 hectares of land bounded by Dowling Street to the east and south, and is substantially the low point in a catchment area of about 68 hectares.

The land’s lower 2.2 hectares was a dunal swale supporting a melaleuca paperbark forest and some swamp mahogany trees.

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This area was described as an ephemeral wetland, meaning that it was from time to time inundated as the water table rose with prolonged rainfall but was dry when the water table fell.

After almost 20 years of ongoing legal proceedings, Port Stephens Council came to an agreement with the current owners of Lagoons Estate.

In January 2020 Council published the following statement in relation to Nelson Bay’s Lagoons Estate.

“Since 2002, the cost to ratepayers has been $7.15 million on public drainage works, settlements and legal costs, with an estimated $2 million to be spent on future public drainage works.

“All costs to date have been disclosed in Council’s financial statements and annual reports.”

Mayor Ryan Palmer stated, “This Council has worked hard to resolve a complicated drainage issue and it’s disappointing that it has been going on for many, many years,” he said.

However extensive drainage efforts have not managed to stop the residences from flooding during the March 2021 extreme weather event.

News Of The Area put some questions to Council on this and they have responded.

“We have undertaken remedial works on our drainage infrastructure.

“More work will be required to ensure the system can cope with large rain events.”

There has been a general concern raised by members of the community in relation to costs incurred due to the recent flooding at Lagoons Estate and whether the local ratepayers will be footing the bill.

Council said, “As this event has been declared a natural disaster, we are working with the NSW Government to recoup costs through emergency grants.”

Going forward, Council is working closely with Lagoons Estate Community Association for short and long-term solutions to flooding.

“As this was a natural disaster, we have been able to pump out flooded areas such as Anna Bay and Lagoons Estate as part of our emergency response.

“We wish to thank the local NSW Police and Hunter Water for facilitating this pumping.”

Council went on to say that the weather event in May 2021 was unprecedented and that most drainage systems are not designed to handle the amount of rainfall Nelson Bay experienced.

“Future Development Applications need to consider the flood risk associated with the site and address the relevant flood planning controls provided in Council’s Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plan.

“Controls include various mechanisms to address the flood risk such as limiting development in high flood risk areas and raising floor levels above anticipated flood levels.”

 

By Marian SAMPSON

 

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