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Majority of flood repairs complete

14 January, 2013

Majority of flood repairs complete: Quirk

Brisbane’s flood recovery continues to forge ahead, with repairs to the majority of council infrastructure such as parks, footpaths and bridges now 100 per cent complete, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said today.

Speaking on the second anniversary of the devastating flood event’s peak, which damaged 22,000 homes, 7600 businesses and caused over $400 million worth of damage to council-assets alone, the Lord Mayor said it had been a mammoth effort from everybody involved to get the city back on its feet.

Cr Quirk said council had completed repairs such as 465km of stormwater drains, 13,000m2 of footpaths, 155 traffic intersections, 17 bridges and 406 parks since January 2011 (see page 2 for full list).

“When the flood waters receded two years ago we were staring down the barrel of a $400 million damage bill and it was certainly a daunting task,” Cr Quirk said.

“However we needed to get Brisbane back in business as soon as possible so we rolled up our sleeves and got to work and haven’t stopped since.

“It’s certainly been a marathon, but all this hard work has now put us in a good position to finish the race strongly and we will continue forging ahead with ongoing road repairs and the reconstruction of Riverwalk and ferry terminals to a higher flood standard.

“We owe a lot to the men and women who have worked tirelessly for council and other organisations over the last two years to get us to this position and I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart on behalf of all Brisbane residents.”

Cr Quirk also thanked the State and Federal Governments for their funding contributions towards council’s recovery efforts through the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

To date council has spent $187 million on the flood recovery, with the QRA so far providing $145 million – a gap of about $42 million.

“By the time the flood recovery is complete we expect council to be over $100 million out of pocket, however every dollar helps and we’ve appreciated the support from other levels of government,” he said.

Cr Quirk said the ongoing repairs continued to build on early milestones in the recovery such as reopening the CBD within five days and getting the ferry network, which was heavily damaged, operational just a month after the floods.

“We’ve also made significant changes to Brisbane’s planning scheme in the last two years, including requiring building utilities to be located away from basements and allowing residents in flood-affected areas to raise their homes an extra metre,” Cr Quirk said.

“This has been so successful council is now proposing to allow all homes in Brisbane to be raised to 9.5 metres as part of the upcoming draft new City Plan.”

Cr Quirk said there had been 211 applications from residents in flooded areas to raise their homes to 9.5 metres under the Temporary Local Planning Instrument since it was introduced in May 2011. (see overpage)

However he said this was only the tip of the iceberg, as those people only raising their existing house, not rebuilding, were able to get on with their recovery without having to lodge an application.

“We’ve spent $14 million buying back 35 of Brisbane’s most flood-prone homes in the last two years to try and reduce flood risk in these areas, with more to come,” Cr Quirk said.

Cr Quirk said council had also distributed about $11.83 million to 107 flood-affected community and sporting clubs across Brisbane from its Community Facility Flood Recovery Package since January 2011, as well as a further $1.12 million in donations from the Lord Mayor’s Community Disaster Relief Appeal Fund to 32 community groups.

However Cr Quirk said there were still projects continuing, including the $70 million replacement of the floating Riverwalk with a fixed version, upgrading the ferry network to a higher flood resilience (between $70m-$90m) and repairing public boat ramps and fishing platforms at Kookaburra Park (Anstead) and the Bellbowrie swimming pool.

Cr Quirk said about 66 per cent of works to council’s 194 flood damaged roads had been completed to date, with more than 145,659m2 of bitumen laid since January 2011.

Cr Quirk said council was also busy continuing to implement recommendations from the Flood Inquiry, with all 124 recommendations handed down across its two reports actioned and 75 per cent already complete. Council has also completed 52 of the 53 recommendations from its own flood review, he said.

In January 2011 Brisbane experienced a significant river flood event, which peaked at 4.46 metres above sea level (Australian Height Datum or AHD) at the City Gauge on 13 January.

Cost of the flood
The estimated cost of flood recovery work is in excess of $400 million, including:
• $127 million for roads and related infrastructure
• $41 million for disaster operations and clean-up
• $19 million for parks
• $20 million for the drain network
• $9 million for creek remediation
• $6 million for pools and libraries
• $5 million for wharves, jetties and pontoons

Infrastructure recovery
Since the Brisbane January 2011 flood, Council has repaired and restored:
• 23 ferry terminals initially repaired (100% complete)
• 465.3km of stormwater drain network, including removal of 27,898kL of sludge (100% complete)
• 13,402m2 of footpath (100% complete)
• 194 roads (66% complete - 145,659m2 of bitumen laid so far)
• 155 traffic intersections (100% complete)
• 89 playgrounds (100% complete)
• 17 bridges (100% complete)
• 10 pontoons (100% complete)
• 2,549 trees on public land (100% complete)

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