Former Southern Downs mayor Ron Bellingham
Former Southern Downs mayor Ron Bellingham Kerri Burns-Taylor

Property buy-back floated as option

FORMER Southern Downs mayor Ron Bellingham believes a property buy-back scheme, in which the council buys flood-affected properties from owners, should be put up for debate among the wider community.

Under the scheme, owners of the affected properties would relocate their homes or rebuild at another location and the flood-affected land would be used as parks or for agricultural purposes.

Mr Bellingham said the scheme could be beneficial to not only landowners but could also save the council considerable time, money and disruption.

The latest round of flooding is the third in two years for many and Mr Bellingham said he believed those affected would likely consider this option, due to the frequency of the event.

"This could save people the stress, concern and worry every time it rains and for them to not have to be frightened of what might happen," he said.

"I think we should certainly consider the options that may be available and have a community discussion - this is not just a council problem."

The long-serving former mayor said the scheme was not without areas of concern.

"The difficulty we have had in previous times is we, as a council, actively discouraged people against building on the flood plain," he said.

"However, we had no power to stop them and unfortunately, for some, the dollar seemed to be more important than the safety aspects."

Mayor Peter Blundell said it was too early to speculate as to whether this would be appropriate for Warwick.

"This is one of the issues in a range of options which will be considered in addressing resilience of communities to natural disasters," he said.



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