Ratepayers slugged for dam repairs
SOUTHERN Downs ratepayers will be slugged more than three quarters of a million dollars for safety improvements to Stanthorpe's Storm King Dam under a State Government directive.
Councillors at this week's general meeting of the Southern Downs Regional Council endorsed a report and a recommendation by officers that the work go ahead, saying they had no choice but to spend the money.
Council-owned dams across Queensland have been targeted for safety upgrades due to Bureau of Meteorology predictions of increasing wild weather and rainfall in coming years, but many local mayors including Mayor Ron Bellingham have questioned the need and cost.
A council spokeswoman confirmed the State Government would pick up 40% of the total project cost of $1,274,000, leaving local ratepayers to fork out the remaining $764,400.
Councillors on Wednesday voted to seek expressions of interest from qualified engineering firms for the project, with Cr Ross Bartley the only no vote.
Cr Bellingham said he "shuddered to think" what it would cost but conceded there was no alternative thanks to the state's edict.
Councillors were told an initial short-listing of engineers had taken place with three companies - Abergeldie, Geotechnical Engineering and Structural Systems - to now be invited to submit formal expressions of interest.
The work involves installing permanent rock anchors into the dam wall, to strengthen it against the possibility of collapse if strained over time due to being full.
The State Government requires the work to be done by the end of June next year.
A dam big bill...
Dams across Queensland are in line for upgrades following a State Government report which reviewed a century of rainfall data
The report concluded many dams were unable or unlikely to withstand a "one-in-500-year maximum flood" and needed strengthening to prevent loss of life and property in the event of a wall collapse
It also stated Bureau of Meteorology projections for "extreme rainfall" in Queensland show that "much larger (events) may be possible than previously believed"
SunWater-owned Leslie Dam is due for an upgrade by 2035 and Warwick's Connolly Dam is still being investigated to determine work needed