EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS – ELECTION ISSUE
THE Redlands area has just undergone a serious weather event, in the aftermath, concerns about how it was handled and how it can better be handled in the future has brought to the fore issues that will require changes and decision making from authorities. In addition to the challenges, Redland City Council has responded with an outline of the situation.
ACCESS TO DUMPS FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
Currently, it is Council’s policy to provide free access to residents but not commercial vehicles to attend waste transfer stations during significant weather events. However, due to the frequency of these events Mayoral candidate Cindy Corrie said it is time to respond with a change in policy.
The mayoral candidate said Council must change and make dump charges free for commercial vehicles for a dedicated period surrounding a significant weather event.
Melissa Millar from Women of Trades welcomed the proposal.
“We are a local business, and we do a lot of gutter cleans to give back to community groups and vulnerable Redlanders for free. Knowing we have this support from Council through free use of the dump when our community needs us most, makes us feel more supported and enabled as a local business,” she said.
Former federal MP Andrew Laming is weighing up running for Mayor, following what he labelled a bizarre and bungled government response to the recent deluge and flooding across Redlands. Dr. Laming said it was hypocrisy at its highest to urge locals to be disaster-prepared while governments have nothing but a pile of sand for residents to shovel should their homes go under.
Mr Laming noted a number of points that needed to be addressed:
- All sandbags should be prepacked and ready for pick-up.
- Redland residents need more than the amount of six sandbags that were rationed to each household.
Mr Laming said his decision to run would be made before Australia Day.
Redland City Council spokesperson said in the lead-up to the recent wet weather event, Redlands Coast residents were encouraged to pro-actively collect pre-filled sandbags, for free, from the sandbagging station at Nuway Landscape Supplies located at 249 Cleveland-Redland Bay Road, Thornlands.
Residents were able to collect up to six free pre-filled sandbags.
It became necessary following incidents during past events to add this limit to ensure there is enough supply for others in need.
On the New Year’s day public holiday, sandbagging was available via the self-serve after-hours sandbagging station at the Cleveland South Street Depot, with the SES providing a supply of empty bags for filling.
Self-serve sandbagging stations operated 24/7 on Russell, Macleay and North Stradbroke islands.
Redlands Coast residents are only required to fill their own sandbags and bring their own shovel if using these self-serve stations.
The self-serve stations allow residents an opportunity to judge how heavy the bag is for them to manage.
During the wet weather event, Council supplied updated information to the public, including detailed advice on how to correctly use sandbags to best effect.
All of Council’s available after-hours staff worked during the event, clearing fallen trees and debris, and attending to other on-the-ground emergencies.
Council had a stock of pre-filled sandbags available as needed by the SES who attended more than 60 call-outs during the event.
Mayor Karen Williams said any potential policy that provided a commercial operator with discounted or free access to Council’s recycling and waste centres during the clean-up period after a declared weather or emergency event, would require proof they offered the same discount to their client.
Cr Williams said she would be happy to discuss such a policy with councillors at a future meeting.
In the interim, commercial operators are encouraged to contact Council to discuss a potential exemption under other exemptions policies and guidelines that currently exist.