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Flood proofing Maryborough can be done for less

Dave Barrowcliffe says it's not rocket science to flood proof Maryborough as he shares his plan for a cheaper alternative.
Dave Barrowcliffe says it's not rocket science to flood proof Maryborough as he shares his plan for a cheaper alternative. Robyne Cuerel

FORGET the $6 million being spent by the government and the council on flood proofing Maryborough's CBD - Dave Barrowcliffe believes he can do it for less than $750,000.

The Maryborough man wants to strategically place Hesco barriers throughout the heritage town to stop the rise of the rapid Mary River.

Hesco barriers are made from geotextile material, welded together with wire mesh and filled with sand - like a giant sandbag.

The barriers were deployed last month in the US city of Iowa to stop the raging Mississippi river and have also been used to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In June, the State Government announced $6 million would be spent on a 1.8m portable flood barrier, permanent pump station and upgrades to Adelaide St.

A Hesco flood barrier is installed in Fargo, North Dakota, USA.
A Hesco flood barrier is installed in Fargo, North Dakota, USA. Contributed

"I've overestimated," he said.

Mr Barrowcliffe said the barriers would be placed on Sussex St, near Wharf St and on Richmond St.

"Those are the three entry points of Maryborough floods," he said.

The ex-serviceman got talking with a former comrade and now has a wealth of knowledge on the value of Hesco barriers.

"I got more information out than a normal inquiry would," he said.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the council was still assessing the best locations and the height of the structure .

"We've got a couple of versions which we thing are goers," he said.

"We have been very extensive in our research and technical work and it's still a working progress."

Despite admitting he didn't have engineering expertise, Cr O'Connell was cautiously excited by the possibility of the Hesco system.

"I haven't dismissed it," he said.

However it's not only the Mary River that contributes to the CBD's drowning.

"Not only does it flood from the river - it's also the flooding through the mains, the stormwater and the localised flood fall," Cr O'Connell said.

"A big part of the expense of this is to have a pump that has the capacity to do the pumping."

The State Government has given the council one year to have their levees organised and ready to go.

But Local Government Community Recovery and Resilience Minister David Crisafulli said it wasn't his decision what materials would be used.

"While I am always interested in new and innovative ways to protect Queenslanders from flooding, the projects need to be driven by local councils," he said.

"All across Queensland, we have backed projects put forward by local councils to best protect their communities."

Topics:  flood proofing floods fraser coast regional council maryborough state government



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