By Jackson Russell
A decision on the Seymour flood levee is one step closer after Mitchell Shire councillors received a report detailing a community survey where 84 per cent of respondents were against the levee.
At last week’s council meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to note a community consultation report and request a further report for the June council meeting.
The requested report will outline all key issues for consideration to determine the most appropriate action required to resolve the $20 million Seymour flood levee project.
With no decision being made since the Seymour flood levee was brought to council in 2010, council resolved in July to appoint independent consultant Nation Partners to seek the wider community’s view on the flood levee.
Nation Partners engaged with the community via letters to affected landholders and offers of face-to-face meetings, a hotline, drop-in sessions, campaigns through traditional media and social media, questionnaires and attendance at Seymour Alternative Farming Expo.
Between September 16 and October 25, 226 people attended three community drop-in sessions, there were 1001 visits to Engaging Mitchell Shire Seymour levee survey sites, 278 people completed the community survey, 97 people completed the landowner survey and 30 calls were made to the Seymour levee phone line.
From the 278 completed community surveys, 233 respondents, 84 per cent, didn’t feel there were good reasons to build a flood levee for the Goulburn River.
Of the 233, 100 said Whiteheads Creek was a bigger problem, 83 said the levee was too expensive and 75 said the levee was not needed because the flood risk is too low.
The responses from landowners were more split but 45 respondents, 60 per cent, were also against the flood levee with 22 saying the flood risk is too low.
Councillors were united in their opinion that a decision needed to be made either way before the end of their term.
Central ward councillor Annie Goble said the report had been a long time coming.
“[The report] is for us to note what the consultants have gained from community consultation,” she said.
“We need to make a decision and now hand this on to yet another council so I’m looking forward to June.”
North ward councillor Bill Chisholm said council had to take onboard the community’s opinion.
“Overall, I think it’s a good result and we have to make a decision one way or another,” he said.