Bund wall blues
By PETER CATON
FOR 14 years the Cherry family of Wooyung on the southern Tweed Coast has watched anxiously each time it rains heavily and creeks back up.
Since Bryon Shire Council allowed developers to build a levee wall just outside the Tweed Shire boundary in Ocean Shores in 1992, nearby waterways have been flooding higher and longer than before.
For the Cherry family, who run the Wooyung Motel and Caravan Park, that has meant lost income.
For about 10 cane and beef farmers on the flat country between Wooyung and Crabbes Creek the worsened flooding has meant inconvenience and the possibility of ruined cane crops.
"It costs us money every time," said Kathy Cherry whose family has run the motel and van park opposite pristine Wooyung Beach for 28 years.
"You can't camp on the ground and you've got to wait till it really dries out.
"We get deeper flooding for longer ever since the wall has been there.
"It's about 40 per cent higher and stays 20 per cent longer."
Mrs Cherry said water backed up along Billinudgel Creek which flows south into Yelgun Creek where it is blocked by the bund wall at Kallaroo Circuit in north Ocean Shores.
It was built by developers to protect parts of Ocean Shores from severe flooding in 1992, despite claims by some householders to the north of the wall, who also live in Byron Shire, that it worsened flooding for them.
Tweed Shire Council claims the wall is an unauthorised blockage of Yelgun Creek, and since 1996 has called for bigger drains to be placed in the wall.
But Byron council has refused to act claiming further studies are needed.
Tweed council has now threatened legal action within a month if Byron does not remove the wall - to the delight of the Cherry family and farmers.
Chairman of the farmers' local drainage union Earl Foyster, who grows cane and runs cattle on his Crabbes Creek property, said the wall prolonged flooding on farmland by up to 40 per cent, preventing floodwater from draining into the Brunswick River on the next outgoing tide.