As an elected Councillor representing our community, I have major concerns with proposed stormwater drainage systems and firsthand experience. There are numerous negative impacts of the open stormwater drainage systems currently being implemented despite residents’ objections.
After numerous complaints from residents over several years, including a petition of more than 1900 signatures, I convinced Council that it needs to obtain community feedback before implementing stormwater drainage systems in new development areas such as Austral, Rossmore and Bringelly.
Residents need to be aware of existing systems and their impacts on nearby residential developments.
Systems similar to those in the slides above exist at Horningsea Park, Hinchinbrook and Middleton Grange. There are obvious disadvantages of the open drainage systems in current use. However, State Government regulations impose constraints on Councils that are not necessarily in the best interest of the community.
As an elected Councillor I will be opposing the open drain stormwater system with their many negative effects on the community, let alone the huge maintenance costs to Council and ratepayers.
Open drain systems, including flood detention basins exist at Amalfi Park, Middleton Grange and incomplete drainage sections at Bedwell lake near Horningsea Park.
An example of the “low flow piped” system was built in Horningsea Park (circa 2004) at Sarah Hollands Drive. It provides easy to maintain grassy recreational areas during dry periods and is used extensively by local residents. During major flood events flood waters flow above ground within the stormwater channels, without damaging the grass covered channel. These channels are easy to maintain at comparative little cost compared to the necessary twice annual reed cutting and clearing of the open drain channels proposed in new development areas.
Examples of housing estates using a combination of underground low-flow-pipes and above ground stormwater channels exist at St Clair near Saint Marys. It has existed without problems since the 1990s. However, the State Government and environmental lobby groups have turned the State Governments against those systems claiming more needs to be done to ensure clean water flows into creeks and rivers. To that end concrete lined canals are no longer the preferred option, instead open drainage channels with vegetation (riparian zones) are preferred options, notwithstanding that they are a haven for rats, snakes, mice, mosquitos and generally are major rubbish traps that require specialised mechanical equipment to regularly cut and remove overgrown vegetation.
In addition, there are major health problems during hot summers when drains dry out and cause unpleasant odours due to rotting vegetation and dead animals. They also attract Ibis into residential areas causing additional unpleasant issues.
Based on existing systems, once open drain systems have been constructed, they cannot be updated, improved or retrofitted without enormous financial costs to Council and ratepayers, as such they are unlikely to be upgraded. That is why it needs to be done once, done properly and in the best interests of the community.
Councillor Peter Harle