Mitchell Shire Council is seeking funding to implement planning scheme changes in response to recent flood studies. [Photo: Grant Miller]

Mitchell Shire Council will seek financial and resource assistance from the Department of Transport and Planning, DTP, to implement planning scheme changes recommended by recent flood studies.

Currently no flood planning controls exist for Kilmore in the Mitchell Planning Scheme.

Kilmore township’s flood risk had not been previously surveyed and with a lack of flood data and recent flooding events, the flood risk for Kilmore was not well understood.

The study area for the Kilmore Flood Study comprises the Kilmore Creek Catchment in its entirety, covering south of the township.

Also included was part of the Hamilton Creek Catchment to the north of the township and Ryan’s Creek in the west.

Implementing the flood mapping would see the floodway overlay, FO, and land subject to inundation overlay, LSIO, introduced to more than 1700 properties across the Kilmore township.

Council also commissioned the Whiteheads Creek Flood Mapping and Intelligence Study addressing the uncertainty to the extent of flooding for the Whiteheads Creek catchment in Seymour.

The study comprised the Whiteheads Creek Catchment that covers more than 100 square kilometres – not including areas impacted by the Goulburn River aside from that which influences the Whiteheads Creek Catchment.

The flood modelling allowed for scenarios with and without a flood levee along Goulburn River.

There are more than 800 properties currently affected by the FO and LSIO combined across the Whiteheads Creek catchment, with the proposed mapping increasing to more than 850.

Mitchell Shire councillor Fiona Stevens said the studies were ‘extremely important’.

“As we know by recent experiences in the northern part of the shire, we need to know where the water goes,” she said.

“These studies have looked at a couple of waterways – being the Kilmore Creek and Whiteheads Creek – and once we know where the water goes it’s important we embed it into our processes.

“That’ll allow us to build and develop those areas appropriately so we’re not allowing businesses or residences to go on areas we know are problematic.”

Cr Bill Chisholm said his experience with the October 2022 floods showed how important the data was.

“It’s really important that we have this sort of data. Working off the feedback I got after the most recent floods, in Shepparton, their data was spot on and they predicted exactly where the water would go and knew how to plan ahead of time,” he said.

The State Government announced funding in May to help local governments complete up-to-date flood data and mapping and incorporate completed studies into planning schemes.

Council will seek financial and resources assistance from the DTP but if funding is not available, a further report will be required to undertake the planning scheme amendment.

“Unless [the reports] are embedded into our planning documents we can’t enact them or enforce them,” Cr Stevens said.

“Unfortunately this process is very timely and it’s very costly so we’re hoping if we go down the path of seeking assistance from DTP they may be able to offset some of the costs for us.

“If we are unfortunately unsuccessful then we will bring it back to us to revisit and see how we move forward because it’s very important that we get this into our planning environment sooner rather than later.”