Let’s build houses here – just add water

ABOVE: The site where 60 housing pads are proposed. This was 59 Rileys Hill Rd during the floods in 2022. Photo: Jemma Donnelly

Susanna Freymark

“If there is another flood disaster will developers provide tinnies for the people living on the extra 60 blocks?” Rileys Hill resident Jemma Donnelly asked.

She was speaking at the community meeting she organised at Rileys Hill Community Hall last night, Tuesday, January 10.

A proposed development at 59 Rileys Hill Road, Broadwater has locals worried about how flooding will impact the area if the development gets approval from Richmond Valley Council.

The developer wants to put in 60 housing blocks or pads which could have duplex or multiple homes on each block.

“How many houses will there be?” a resident asked.

Rileys Hill Rd residents at a community meeting. Photo: Susanna Freymark

The proposed development is on the Richmond River coastal floodplain and is generally flat with elevations of about 2.05–3.05m above sea level.

The estimated cost of the development is nearly $1.7million.

The group of 28 residents who gathered at the hall had plenty to say about the development application.

The quiet paddock with cattle grazing on it is part of a floodplain and was zoned Residential in 1972.

Some residents across the road from it are still repairing homes damaged in the record February-March floods last year.

Nat Wynne lives opposite. She took a video of the rising floodwaters at the site on March 1 last year. Watch the video below.

The major concern at the meeting was that development laws reference 2010 flood modelling.

“The developers should have to wait until the most recent flood study,” one resident said.

In correspondence to the residents, Richmond Valley Council said the latest flood study for the area completed in 2010 included consideration of climate change impacts on sea level rise and rainfall intensity.

A new flood study was almost finished at the beginning of last year when the February-March flood happened and exceeded all previous measurements.

Making this more difficult is the fact that no exact flood height information is available because there is no river height gauge at Broadwater.

The council’s new flood study expands its coverage out to the Kyogle Shire boundary and upstream to Whiporie and Rappville in the Bungawalbin catchment and is being assessed to take the 2022 flood into consideration.

The collection and assessment of information related to this event is being managed by a number of State Government departments, the council said.

Ms Donnelly said she would ask the DA’s consultants Ardill Payne & Partners, working for the developer Broadwater Rileys Pty Ltd, to host a community consultation.

The proposed development from the DA.

A petition opposing the development was started and Ms Donnelly urged every resident at the meeting to lodge a submission by February 18.

There will another community meeting at the hall on Wednesday, February 1 at 7pm.

Other concerns raised included koala protection, unspecified removal of vegetation, a sewer pump station on the site and the lack of infrastructure with only a service station at Broadwater and a lack of footpaths.

Ardill Payne & Partners were contacted by email and phone for a comment but did not respond.

Check the DA here.

To make a submission about the development of 59 Rileys Hill Rd, do one of these:

Email it to council@richmondvalley.nsw.gov.au

Fill out a Make a Submission form on council’s website.

Post it to General Manager, Richmond Valley Council, Locked Bag 10, Casino NSW 2470

Deliver to council’s administration centre in Casino or Evans Head

Submissions close at 4pm on Saturday, February 18.

The paddock at 59 Rileys Hill Rd in Broadwater. Photo: Susanna Freymark

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