From the Newsroom

Accessing the designated flood refuge at the Yamba Bowling Club during flood will be discussed at the meeting. Image: contributed.

Get Ready – Flood Awareness and Resilience Meeting

Rodney Stevens

Residents in the Clarence Valley are invited to an important public meeting that will equip them with the knowledge and strategies to prepare for and tackle the next stormwater and Clarence River flood event.

Yamba CAN Inc and Valley Watch Inc are co-hosting the meeting titled “Yamba Get Ready – Flood Awareness and Resilience Meeting”.

The free public meeting will be held in the Yamba Golf and Country Club auditorium from 3pm sharp on Sunday, April 21.

The keynote speaker for the Meeting, Ms Sue Higginson MLC, is passionate about planning and the environment.

Ms Higginson is Chairperson of a current NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the planning system and impacts of climate change on the environment and communities.

After the keynote speaker the agenda kicks off with Understanding Your Risk, and a slide show will provide photos of the 2022 stormwater and riverine flooding event, showing the impacts, road closures and other important information.

The agenda of the Meeting will cover topics including flood awareness, preparing for a natural disaster, understanding your risk and understanding your home’s floor level, your personal flood evacuation plan, resources and support you can access, where can you evacuate to, the future for Yamba, plus a question-and-answer session.

The NSW SES will be providing a presentation in relation to safety, evacuation planning and registering, and what you need to consider before and after a flood event.

The Meeting will help the community to understand their own flood risks, things to consider before a flood event; consider local flood history; heights at which homes, businesses and properties will be affected; what flood warnings to be aware of; travel routes; managing animals and how everyone can better plan and prepare for their safety and security in a flood event.

One concern to be addressed is that the Yamba Bowling Club is currently the designated flood refuge, however once flood or stormwater reaches a depth of 1.5mAHD (Australian Height Datum) Yamba Road gets cut at the Angourie Road roundabout, and water builds up to the west, preventing thousands of people accessing the Club, let alone trying to reach higher ground up Yamba Hill.

Yamba CAN Inc and Valley Watch Inc members agree that “ensuring the safety of our community is paramount.”

“Flood planning involves not just the prediction and prevention of floods but also the safety measures that ensure communities can effectively respond to flood events.

Evacuation plans are a crucial component of our emergency management strategy, ensuring that residents can safely leave flood-prone areas in a timely manner.” The groups said.

Yamba CAN and Valley Watch added, they are endeavouring to inform the local community’s understanding of flood risks, improving preparedness, and fostering collaboration between the community, emergency support services and Clarence Valley Council.

Both groups said they want to work effectively with emergency support services and Clarence Valley Council in relation to preparing for and responding to flood events and to ensure all the community are kept informed and included in all emergency management processes and strategies, particularly in relation to pre and post flooding events, to continue to ensure safety and security for all those who reside and visit Yamba and the Lower Clarence area.

To end the Meeting, the ‘Future for Yamba’ topic will discuss future flooding risks, new developments and potential flooding issues.

Invitations to the meeting have also been extended to the NSW Ambulance, Fire and Rescue NSW, and NSW Police to provide their input to the meeting.

Yamba CAN and Valley Watch hope the meeting will provide vital information to locals and generate a process whereby community input can be used to improve and build on flood preparedness and resilience.