Calmer waters for Melbourne Hill Rd

by Michelle Pini
10th March 2015

A SOLUTION to Melbourne Hill Road’s drainage issue could become the benchmark for other ecologically sensitive catchments within Manningham.

An epic struggle by residents for sustainable, cost effective stormwater management has inspired a new approach by Manningham council.

Although originally set to enforce an unpopular and costly scheme for localised flooding issues in the catchment, after sustained community campaigning council engineers are now considering alternative solutions.

Council has obtained a $50,000 grant from the state-funded Living Rivers Program (a previously unexplored option), which will be matched from council coffers to provide a $100,000 budget. This will allow investigation of more environmentally sustainable stormwater management possibilities in the troubled catchment.

Consulting engineering group BMT WBM has been appointed to conduct this feasibility study, which is planned for completion by the end of May.

Council has also undertaken a more consultative approach to management of the issue. Formalised in a ‘Terms of Reference’ document instigated by the community representative panel, this approach is an effort to bring more open and informed discussion around the issue.

Highly regarded strategic environmental engineer and president of Stormwater Australia, Andrew Allen, was a welcome new addition to the recent reference panel meeting.

It is expected Allen, who had been seconded from Manningham council to the office of Living Victoria during much of the original resident/council debate, will add his considerable depth of knowledge in sustainable flood mitigation to the project.

Cr Sophy Galbally, who has continued to campaign for a balanced solution to flood management in the catchment is satisfied with the progress so far.

“I was pleased to meet the senior executives from BMT WBM at the recent reference panel meeting where residents, council engineers and ward councillors were able to convey the issues they hope this study may be able to address. I sincerely hope the consultants’ report, which is welcomed by all, will provide council with innovative and sustainable options for all areas in need of flood mitigation, particularly in the Mullum Mullum ward,” Cr Galbally said.

Residents’ spokesperson Peter Noye told the Diary: “The representative panel stand committed to a more environmentally sustainable and economical outcome. We thank the councillors for voting towards seeking a more cost effective and sustainable alternative.”

The next community meeting on the Melbourne Hill Rd issue will be held at Warrandyte Uniting Church, Taroona Ave tonight (March 10) at 8pm.