Meander Valley’s Flood Recovery Continues

Posted on December 02, 2022

Flood recovery ramping up in Meander Valley

The peak of the flooding may have passed, but Council continues to work hard on recovery and this will ramp up over coming weeks as we experience more favourable weather conditions and contractors become available.

As well as bridges and roads, the Meander River, just south of the Deloraine township near Rotary Park is a priority area for Council. There is still a large amount of debris in the waterway, entangled in willows and other vegetation. Items deposited in the river include general bulky waste, agricultural products, drums, chemical containers, pods, sawn logs and milled timber.

“While the debris and damaged vegetation from the flood must be removed, this is a sensitive area with important environmental, visual and recreational values that must be protected or reinstated after works. Council has been working with the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and the owners of the land, Crown Land Services to seek agreement on the best way to recover the site and minimise further damage,” Council’s General Manager, John Jordan said.

The flood has already impacted the site, so minimising further impacts on the natural values and habitat are major considerations.

“It is inevitable that the clean-up and use of heavy equipment will have an impact. To create working space to access and safely remove the debris and rubbish, selective cutting of the willows and trimming of vegetation will be needed. We have no plans to pull any willow stumps out, we intend to leave them in place to help preserve the integrity of the riverbank until succession planting is established. Wood cut from the willows will create a pathway for machinery to get in, carefully collect the waste and then back out along the same path. This will help minimise soil compaction and disturbance. To reduce heavy machinery use for carting away, we may also burn some debris on site,” Council’s Director of Works, Matthew Millwood said.

The clean-up work in the area is expected to take over a week and is scheduled to start soon.

“We have notified nearby residents so they are aware of the work in the area, the presence of heavy machinery and potentially smoky conditions. While the work will change the outlook along this stretch of the riverbank, overtime Council will work to reinstate the look and feel of the area. The remediation will also improve overall water flow and water quality in the duck pond area and lead to better environmental outcomes for the future of the site,” General Manager John Jordan said.

The Deloraine Swimming Pool is another facility that did not escape natures wroth, sustaining damage to the kiosk, change rooms, showers and the pool’s pumped heating and filter systems.

“We know how much everyone looks forward to the opening of the pool on 1 December. It’s a real blow that we need to delay the opening until all the pumps and filters are checked and the kiosk, change rooms and shower facilities are repaired or made fit for public use,” Mayor Wayne Johnston said.

The suspension footbridge spanning the Deloraine river just near the Train Park also remains closed. During the flood, the bridge sustained structural damage and a portion of the handrail was jammed, leaving the bridge in a skewed position.

Council has engaged specialised contractors to cut the jammed handrail to free up the bridge so it can swing back to its proper location.

“This will allow us to see what components of the bridge spring back into place and what components are permanently deformed and need replacing. This work is scheduled for Thursday 8 December and will involve the use of a crane. Part of the surrounding area, including some of the carpark will be closed so we ask that everyone respects and follows the direction of all safety signage erected at the site,” Mayor Johnston said.

The flood event also damaged a considerable number of roads across Meander Valley and approximately 3,500 square metres of sealed road network was also washed away. Over the last few weeks, works crews have been reshaping these roads and they now have a formed gravel surface in preparation for re-sealing.

“We know that the closure of these facilities is disappointing and in some cases inconvenient but we must maintain safety for the public. We really do appreciate the community’s patience and I want to thank and acknowledge the work of volunteers and other community members who rolled up their sleeves and worked alongside Council’s team to help out in the immediate aftermath of the flood. This was a true demonstration of working together and is what makes me so proud to represent our community.

“While we cannot control the weather, we can control how we respond to it. The flood and the remediation work have and will change some things, but we have an opportunity to reset, build resilience and achieve outcomes that will better support us and our region,” Mayor Wayne Johnston said.

Council will be providing further updates on the status of the flood recovery work as projects are set to commence.

– Ends –

Meander River Image 4

Some of the debris entangled in Willows in the Meander River that will be carefully removed from next week.

Meander River Image 3