Work on Tweed Valley Way on the river bank near Murwillumbah.
Work on Tweed Valley Way on the river bank near Murwillumbah. Blainey Woodham

Council’s costly fight against river bank erosion

TWEED Shire Council has spent more than $1.2 million fighting erosion on the river bank between Murwillumbah and Tumbulgum since 2008, a figure at least one councillor has labelled as shocking.

The figure emerged in a report called for by Cr Gary Bagnall, tabled in council on Thursday night, who said "the expense of this is unbelievable".

The overwhelming majority of the works were funded under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements fund, although council dipped into its roads maintenance budget for $15,000 worth of works to address safety issues on Tweed Valley Way.

It's starting to remind me of one of those canals in England with all the rock walls instead of a wild looking river. I think it's something that needs a lot of consideration, not only the erosion but the visual impact of our riverbanks being rocked up.

Cr Bagnall said so much works had been done it was changing the look of the river.

"It's starting to remind me of one of those canals in England with all the rock walls instead of a wild looking river," he said.

"I think this is something that needs a lot of consideration, not only the erosion but the visual impact of our riverbanks being rocked up."

Cr Katie Milne said the report showed in "clear monetary terms" the impact of not only flooding and rain events on the river but also recreational use like powerboats and wakeboarding.

But Mayor Barry Longland, with agreement from Cr Phil Youngblutt, said the works were the inevitable result of living on a flood plain.

Council's Director Engineering and Operations Patrick Knight told councillors that there was a problem in how the state and federal government handed out grants for works.

"There's no money given to preventative maintenance, the money gets given to reactive repairs," Mr Knight said.

Their have been 14 sets of works carried out between Condong Creek and the Riverview Hotel in the last five years including restoration of levee foundations, rock protection and restoration of eroded river banks.



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