Yellow peril

Thursday 12 January 2012

Yellow peril

State Member for Cook Jason O'Brien has responded to claims that the cyclone shelter, set to be built on Port Douglas State School property this year, should be constructed on a site on Old Port Road.

In The Newsport article 'STOP! Look closer urges locals' (Monday 9 January, 2012), residents Russell Jean and Steve Hull were calling for the cyclone shelter plan to be revised, citing a 12000sqm Council owned block in Old Port Road (approximately 200m from the Captain Cook Hwy intersection) would allow future expansion of facilities, better road access, and less management concerns than the school site.

The article prompted Mr O'Brien to respond to their claims saying the Old Port Road site lies in a 'moderate' flood risk zone, or yellow zone indicated in the Council's flood maps, making it an inappropriate location for the shelther.

"I have just had it re-confirmed that the site the two gentlemen (Mr Jean and Mr Hull) are advocating for is in the yellow flood zone and therefore would never be considered for this project," Mr O'Brien wrote in the Have Your Say comments area of the article. 

"The flood map is available on the Council website but I asked officers to confirm. Sites were only considered that were in the white zone (above the Q100 flood level), had highway access, were clear of other buildings and trees and had helicopter access just to name a few of the key criteria.

"The school site ticks all these boxes and is pretty well the only site freely available in Port Douglas that does so," he said.

To add to the intrigue, the Council Evacuation Map which indicates storm tide levels shows the site in question seemingly bordering a 'safe' white zone and yellow zone (pictured above).  

Mr O'Brien added that issues such as management and public access are currently being addressed. 

"The school principal is preparing a template memorandum of understanding so that community groups will be able to use the facility.

"Of course everyone wants a bigger one (cyclone shelter) but with no other level of government able to contribute to the capital costs now nor to the fit out, ongoing maintenance or management this is the best option the State Government has to provide Port with a safe facility as well as a sport and recreation centre.

"The plans for the centre have previously been put on The Newsport website and I urge people to look at what a great facility this will become."

But Mr Hull added his thoughts to Monday's article saying he and Mr Jean had done their homework in recommended the alternative site.

"When Russell and I started our push for this to become a bigger, better and more suitable facility for our 12,000 residents (regional) we obviously checked the storm surge maps.

"There is over 5,000sqm of white zone on the land in question.....also ALREADY in place......DIRECT highway access for emergency vehicles......immediate direct areas for bus/car parking and helicopter buildings or trees that would cause problems in a storm.

"These are KEY criteria requirements as per QLD govt public works guidelines.
This site certainly ticks a lot of boxes! "
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