From the Newsroom

‘Don’t drown our town’ – Stop the fill Yamba protest

Rodney Stevens

‘Don’t drown our town…Stop the fill’

Those were the chants that echoed across Ford Park and the Yamba Markets on Sunday as more than 100 concerned residents donned red and held up ‘Stop the fill’ signs to protest against the continual parade of b-doubles dumping fill for floodplain developments.

Organised by the Stop the Fill group, the newly formed and named Yamba Community Action Network (CAN) and Valley Watch, spokeswoman Helen Tyas Tunggal said like in many coastal communities, locals were becoming increasingly concerned about development on floodplains.

“Today was organised as another means of activity for residents who keep saying what can we do,” she said.

“They’ve written to council, they’ve contacted council over the years about the drainage, about the floodwater in their homes, about the lack of an overall plan and nothing happens.”

Ms Tyas Tunggal said more than 2,000 people signed a petition demanding a well-designed Master Plan for West Yamba, but council instead has produced a brochure.  

“We still keep getting development on the floodplain, requiring fill, to raise the land higher than all the existing homes,” she said.

“The writing is on the wall, the existing residents can see that they’re the collateral damage in this gradually, by stealth, raising Yamba.

“This action has been born out of frustration, everyone feels disempowered and that their word doesn’t count so the voices are uniting, and this is the first of more to come.”

Valley Watch has been getting contacted almost daily, Ms Tyas Tunggal said, by people concerned about developments at Yamba and their impact.

“It’s not just the immediately affected people that are having water in their homes or their properties where they’ve never been inundated before, the rest of the community can see what’s happening and if this is the future for Yamba, we’re doomed,” she said.

Residents of Golding Street for more than 20 years, Greg and Christine said after enduring many floods where water would come up the drains with the tide, this year’s floods were different due to the influence of fill.

“In the last flood we also had to cope with water flowing down Golding Street, spilling out of the overflowing paddocks between here and Miles Street,” they said.

“As this has never happened before, the fill that has been trucked in to Carrs Drive, (especially on the eastern side of Carrs Dr) is obviously the cause.

“In previous floods we have never seen water in our backyard, back patio area or the sides of the house, only coming up the driveway as the tide increases.

“In the most recent flood, our home was inundated with water front, back and sides.

“We would like to see a moratorium on fill coming into Carrs Drive Yamba until the NSW Government 2022 Flood Enquiry Report has been fully considered.

“The NSW Government needs to create legislation to allow councils to back-pedal on developments previously approved on flood plains.

Yamba Road resident Cate, who has increasingly been affected by floods over the past 20 years, said she spent $5000 on plumbing in late 2021 to try to prevent her property flooding again.

“This was to no avail as the waters once again rose into my house,” she said.

“It has been very, very difficult to be flooded time and time again – four times in recent years – both emotionally and financially debilitating. 

“I have replaced carpet three times but won’t be this time.

“I had a metre of water in my backyard after the last two floods in 2021 and 2022 and that simply was not happening three years ago.

“Council needs to input all the recent data to see what the impacts are from the developments on Carrs Drive West Yamba when the town is in flood.

“We need a new flood model.

 “We need an independent inquiry that investigates the impacts on the development in Carrs Drive West Yamba on the town after flooding.”

Yamba CAN will meet at 2pm on Saturday September 10 at Wooli Street Hall. 

All residents welcome.