Surge wall project put on hold

August 16, 2002 - The proposed Carnarvon Surge Wall will be put on hold while further investigations take place into technical aspects of the project, the WA Legislative Council heard yesterday.

In response to a parliamentary question asked by Greens (WA) MLC, Robin Chapple, Planning and Infrastructure Minister, Alannah McTiernan, agreed that further investigations should take place prior to the expenditure of any state funding on the project.

The Minister confirmed that she had met with the CEO and some Carnarvon Shire Councillors on July 25 and at the meeting, the Shire had agreed to review technical data on the surge wall with Council expecting to report the findings in about three months.

Mr Chapple, who has been working closely with local residents on this issue, said that residents had long been questioning the justification for the current proposal that could see the construction of a wall up to 3.65m high and 30m wide wrapping around the perimeter of South Carnarvon.

'A group of concerned Carnarvon residents have been lobbying the Minister, the Shire and even the Environmental Protection Authority with a myriad of concerns including structural and environmental aspects. While questioning the justification for the wall, there are also questions surrounding the design of the project,' Mr Chapple said.

'The surge wall continues to be discussed in isolation despite being part of a bigger plan for a complete so-called flood protection barrier for the town. If the wall goes ahead, rather than protecting the town, it has the potential to create a bigger risk to the community than the current situation.'

Mr Chapple said he was pleased the Shire had agreed to review the structure prior to the commencement of work and said he supported the development of an integrated plan involving the Shire, the relevant government departments and the entire local community.

'To date, only selected sections of the community have had input into decision-making on this project and their concerns about the fragmented approach have not been adequately addressed. Piecemeal engineering development is not an acceptable way forward for the Carnarvon township,' Mr Chapple concluded.

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