Flood level can be a matter of life and death
I applaud Council's decision to consider making a submission on the plan to redevelop Woy Woy Bowling Club (Peninsula News edition 439).
Firstly, it is right for an elected Council to consider the matter because it, unlike the JRPP and Council staff, has a responsibility and is answerable to the community, which is overwhelmingly opposed to this development.
But there is another compelling reason.
Elected Council has no greater responsibility than its duty of care for the wellbeing of residents, and especially of our most vulnerable residents in aged care, and housing for seniors or people with a disability.
Those of us who reside near Woy Woy Bowling Club know that the greatest threat to wellbeing is the frequent flooding of surrounding streets during king tides and coastal storms.
A recent Bureau of Meteorology study revealed that flooding during past storms has caused 150 deaths on the coast between Taree and Wollongong, and warned that "if such events were to occur today they would have catastrophic impacts due to the massive increase in urban development".
From the council website, we learn that approximately 50 per cent of deaths are caused by people trying to escape from a flood affected area via vehicle or on foot.
This explains why Gosford Development Control Plan 2013 requires that for seniors housing in flood-prone areas: "floor levels, whether habitable or non-habitable, are to be above the PMF (Probable Maximal Flood) flood level", and that "all access roads and driveways, and external parking areas are to be above the PMF to provide the ability to safely receive and evacuate occupants or contents without having to cross floodwaters of any depth in all flood events".
The Woy Woy Bowling Club application does not comply with these requirements.
These are matters of potential life and death for senior residents.
An underground carpark as proposed that is more than two metres below current street level seems a potential death-trap in any future tidal or storm-related flood.
Thankyou Councillors Mehrtens, Smith and co for putting the interests of residents first.
Email, 8 Mar 2018
R McMurtrie, Woy Woy