Drainage decision welcomed

Trafalgar residents have welcomed Baw Baw Shire Council’s recent decision to redirect funds to the Trafalgar Drainage Program, which would address the community’s frustration with the “failing infrastructure”.

Jess Potter, head petitioner of a 214-signature call to “raise attention to the failing drains” said she was “very happy” with council’s moves which were “going in the right direction”.

Ms Potter said she was particularly pleased council had been keeping her in the loop with the progress.

“So far so good. All we really wanted was some action, and for them to acknowledge the problem (blocked drains causing flooding),” she said.

Council has approved the redirection of funds to deliver the Trafalgar Drainage Program within the next two years.

This financial year council has allocated $25,000 to survey the major drainage assets within Trafalgar, establishing where the pipes and the drainage infrastructure is, with community consultation to begin early this year.

A further $70,000 has been allocated for the next financial year to undertake flood modelling for the Trafalgar township, calculating how the water flows.

Funding from the Neerim South Drainage Investigation has been redirected to the deliver the program, leveraging off the results of the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority’s Latrobe River Flood Study.

Baw Baw Shire director community assets Phil Cantillon said the review would take into account the immediate concerns that had been raised by Trafalgar residents and the wider subdivision activity, future and current.

“We want to make sure that the work we’re doing is targeted on all of the issues that need to be addressed,” Mr Cantillon said.

He said these initial stages would eventually lead to an investment program.

“It will look at the issues immediately needing to be addressed and the longer term challenges that we may face in the area, ultimately leading some form of drainage investment strategy,” he said.

Manager infrastructure services and growth Brad Hurren said the outcome of the study and model, due for completion by 30 June 2014 would be a list of required upgrade works within Trafalgar, that would ultimately lead to the drainage in the township functioning as it should.

Parallel to the program is the flagged cleaning of Contour Road, which will improve the channel flow at an initial cost of $30,000, which council will seek during its current mid year budget review, and will be carried out in early 2013, subject to the review.

Mr Cantillon said other works to address immediate issues would be carried out before physical work resulting from the comprehensive strategy begins.

Council officers will work with WGCMA during the development of their flood study to identify any opportunities to reduce the financial impact of the consultation period.