Riverbank collapse still a risk, says Murray Bridge council CEO Michael Sedgman

In exile: Tim Potter and his neighbours have grown accustomed to life in isolation due to the risk of riverbank slumping. Photo: Peri Strathearn.
In exile: Tim Potter and his neighbours have grown accustomed to life in isolation due to the risk of riverbank slumping. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

The time to relax in areas prone to riverbank collapse is not yet, says Michael Sedgman.

Despite high water levels, the Murray Bridge council's chief executive officer has ruled out any imminent end to the isolation imposed on Riverfront Road shack owners who have stayed put since the area was cordoned off in 2010.

Such a move would only come following research commissioned by the Local Government Association, local councils and relevant State Government agencies, who would meet for the first time in the next month, he said.

"Since the end of the drought we've seen a return in water flows, but that doesn't mean the damage has been mitigated," he said.

"The damage to the banks, based on the advice we've had, is irreparable."

"There's a little bit of misinformation there about the risk."

The council had appeared to relax its stance when it approved a wakeboarding event at Sturt Reserve in January.

In February, infrastructure and environment general manager Simon Bradley told councillors a State Government report had recommended riverbank collapse be demoted from the state hazard list to a Murray and Mallee emergency management plan.

Staff from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) would monitor river levels and advise emergency services if river water levels dropped low enough for the risk of slumping to return, he said.

DEWNR declined to provide The Standard with a copy of the report.

At any rate, Sturt Reserve Leaseholders Association chairman Tim Potter said his neighbours were happy in their isolation.

"We've got a closed community, we're not paying any rates and we can manage our own services far better than the council can," he said.

"If they did come back, we'd have to bear the brunt of again having to pay rates."

There are also sites at high risk of riverbank collapse at Caloote, Woodlane and Younghusband.

Comments

Discuss "Not yet safe as houses"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.