3 December 2021

Goulburn's May Street subdivision struggling with heavy rainfall

| Max O'Driscoll
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The view from May Street resident Judith Ferneley’s front door. Photo: Judith Ferneley.

Heavy rainfall in recent weeks has caused significant flooding issues for residents of May Street in Eastgrove.

The Goulburn neighbourhood street has been inundated with muddy water, which residents believe to be the result of run-off from a new residential subdivision development nearby.

May St resident Judith Ferneley watched as the piece of road in front of her house disappeared under water (pictured above). She says the “various attempts to develop that land” over the years had her hopeful that every precaution would be taken to ensure these types of issues did not occur.

Ms Ferneley said she was now worried about the future of the development.

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“From my point of view, what they’ve done is just tried to redevelop all that area in one go and, because of the fact that it was on a hill, it’s just too big,” Ms Ferneley said.

“They should have done it a lot more smartly.”

Goulburn Mulwaree Council general manager Warwick Bennett said council was working closely with the developer and residents of the area.

“Since the issuing of a stop-work order in early November, the developer has implemented a number of erosion and sediment control measures onsite that are surplus to those required by the development consent,” Mr Bennett said.

Examples of soil and sediment control measures installed at 99 May St. Photo: Goulburn Mulwaree Council.

The measures Mr Bennett is referring to are the construction of three retention dams, trenching, sediment control fencing around the boundary fence lines and further controls surrounding stormwater drains and infrastructure.

Because of these efforts to correct issues, he said council would be lenient with the developer, for the time being, especially considering the extraordinary levels of rainfall in recent times.

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“The developer was issued with penalty infringement notices, however since these notices and the stop-work order we acknowledge they have been very proactive in bringing the site into compliance with all relevant conditions but also installing measures surplus to the consent requirements, with the aim of minimising the impacts of the development on both the environment and surrounding residents,” Mr Bennett said.

“The enormous cumulative rainfall throughout spring has made the site very difficult to manage, and we will continue to monitor closely and work with the developer.

“Protection of properties neighbouring this development is council’s number one priority.”

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May I say, this is not a reasonable answer from Council. Judith Ferneley, who is a smart and astute person, saw this coming. Developers are given too much leeway on these issues. Why didn’t they have their three dams prepared beforehand? Don’t they read weather forecasts (La Nina was predicted months ago)?
The development consent should have stated that the situation in the photo should never have occurred. Don’t write in inadequate requirements and then when they fail, say aww well, that’s not their fault. Yes it is! And the councils. Currently there is a housing crisis and people cannot find a place to live at a reasonable cost, but developers are making huge amounts of money and not having to pay for their environmental responsibilities.
Oh, by the way, work with the residents first, then work with the developers.

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