Two years on from the summer of 2011 flood repair work continues, but so much has been completed

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

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Brisbane’s flood recovery continues to forge ahead, with repair to the majority of council infrastructure such as parks, footpaths and bridges now 100 per cent complete just two years on. You only have to look at table (below right) to see the massive effort it has been to get this city back on its feet after one of the biggest floods in our history. When the flood waters receded two years ago we were staring down the barrel of a $400million-plus damage bill and I’m not afraid to admit that it was a daunting task. However, we needed to get Brisbane back in business as soon as possible so we rolled up our sleeves, got to work and haven’t stopped since.

To date the recovery has cost us $187million, with the state and federal government chipping in $145million of that. Eventually we expect to be over $100million out-of-pocket due to some infrastructure not being covered for assistance, including some of the damage to local roads.

Restoration completed

  • 465.3km of stormwater drain network
  • 13,402m2 of footpath
  • 406 parks
  • 155 traffic intersections
  • 89 playgrounds
  • 17 bridges
  • 2,549 trees on public land
  • $14m to 107 flooded clubs

The main projects left to complete are: replacing the floating New Farm Riverwalk with a fixed structure ($70million), rebuilding many of our ferry terminals ($70-$90million) to a higher flood standard and continuing to resurface the city’s 194 flood-damaged roads, which have already seen more than 145,659 square metres of bitumen laid in the past two years.

There have also been lessons learnt, with significant changes to Brisbane’s planning scheme in the last two years, including the requirement that building utilities be located away from basements and allowing residents in flood-affected areas to raise their homes an extra metre. Since May 2011 there have been 211 applications to raise homes to 9.5 metres. But it’s just the tip of the iceberg as those people only raising their existing house, not rebuilding, were able to get on with their recovery without having to lodge an application.

We’ve also spent $14million buying back 35 of Brisbane’s most flood-prone homes in the last two years to try and reduce flood risk in these areas, with more to come. However, while many residents have recovered, there are others we should spare a thought for: those who are still trying to rebuild – my heart goes out to you.

Overall, I believe we can say that, two years on, Brisbane really is back in business. We owe a lot to the men and women who have worked tirelessly for council and other organisations over the last two years to get us here and I’d like to thank them from the bottom of my heart on behalf of all Brisbane residents.

Wildlife rescue
If you come across sick or injured wildlife please report it to council on 3403 8888. You may not be aware that we have a 24-hour service that will come to you to pick them up. Last year we rescued a record 1400 native animals, with birds and possums topping the list. But that’s still too many injured animals for my liking. The leading cause of injury was motor vehicles, followed by cats and dogs, so I ask that people please slow down in wildlife areas and keep your pets locked up at night. As our city grows, so does our responsibility towards ensuring the safety of the wildlife that shares our suburbs.