Request for drainage meeting met with rebuff

Business owners on Swan Street tried to get a meeting with Wollongong City Council just weeks before Monday's floods to discuss the storm drain culverts that were being clogged with silt and debris.

But they were told the drainage system was being inspected and cleared on a "needs" basis rather than regularly, and there was no need for the council to meet them.

Correspondence obtained by the Mercury shows this rebuff was on Tuesday, March 18.

Wollongong council worried by clogged-up creeks

Heavy rains on the night of Monday, March 24, brought flooding to their homes and businesses once again - just as it did in February 2012.

Several months after the 2012 flooding, scores of people met with the council to demand better management of the creeks. Swan Street business owner Linda Hogg said she was told council would clear the waterway on a regular basis.

But over the next six months Mrs Hogg watched three of the four culverts nearest her business become clogged with a build-up of silt. She said council officers inspected them but no action was taken.

"Two years have gone by and they haven't done any maintenance," she said.

Mrs Hogg said given the amount of water that ended up in the area during heavy rains, the creek was simply not big enough and needed to be enlarged.

Residents now anticipate the council will act to clear out the vegetation build-up in the creek, and the culverts. But as in 2012, it will come after the flooding.

The council did not respond to the Mercury's questions by deadline yesterday. When asked earlier in the week, a council spokesperson said "there are parts of the city which are flood prone and in heavy inundations will flood no matter what infrastructure is put in place".

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