Toowoomba Region’s flood management project wins national planning excellence award

Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) flood management project last night added a prestigious Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) national award to its list of honours.

TRC’s Toowoomba Region Flood Management - Safer Stronger, More Resilient Region project was awarded the national ‘Hard Won Victory’ honour at PIA’s National Awards for Planning Excellence 2019 at the Gold Coast.

Council was represented by Deputy Mayor and Infrastructure Services Committee chair Cr Carol Taylor, Planning and Development Committee chair Cr Chris Tait, Strategic Planning and Economic Development portfolio leader Cr Anne Glasheen, Infrastructure Services General Manager Mike Brady and two senior Planning and Development officers at the awards function.

The ‘Hard Won Victory Award’ recognises innovative solutions, significant effort and leadership to overcome a planning challenge. It acknowledges the achievement of positive planning benefits that shape the future of the community and build resilience. It highlights the complex nature of the project, extensive collaboration and consultation undertaken, and use of latest technology to provide a sound evidence base for hazard planning.

Cr Glasheen said Council initiated the project in the wake of the destructive 2010/2011 flood events that resulted in three deaths in the Toowoomba Region and significant and widespread damage to public and private infrastructure.

“The award recognises a ‘hard won victory’ that was achieved in partnership with the community, the Insurance Council of Australia, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, development industry and flood management, agriculture and emergency services sectors,” Cr Glasheen said.

“The initial part of the project was specifically designed to overcome challenges and barriers in a particularly sensitive planning area that involved dealing with high levels of community concern, conflicting interests, significant scale and potentially dire consequences.

“Council’s project team went beyond statutory requirements to deliver a best-practice approach which has resulted in the potential for widespread adoption across Queensland’s other flood-prone local government areas.”

Deputy Mayor Cr Taylor said after the 2011 floods Council embarked on one of the largest and most efficient bodies of Flood Risk Management Studies and Flood Risk Management Plans undertaken by an Australian local government to build a Safer, Stronger, More Resilient Region.

Cr Taylor said the Flood Risk Assessment Planning Evaluation and Scheme Amendment (FRAPESA) project was at the core of this work.

“FRAPESA delivered multiple flood studies for 30 townships, the Condamine River catchment and comprehensive recommendations to better regulate development within flood risk areas to protect people, property, infrastructure and the environment from flooding,” Cr Taylor said.

“More accurate flood mapping offers a better understanding of a location’s vulnerability to flooding.

“It helps to raise awareness about flooding and flood risks around the region for residents and policy makers at the State and local levels of government.

“The studies offer greater clarity around what type of development is best suited to different areas, depending on the flood risk. This not only protects human life and property, but also has a beneficial flow-on effect for the insurance sector.

“A greater level of detail means insurers can locate individual properties more accurately on flood risk maps and rate premiums accordingly.

“Council will continue to modify the Regional Planning Scheme to facilitate flood studies and hazard studies in line with statutory requirements.”

TRC qualified for the national award after winning the PIA Queensland ‘Hard Won Victory Award’ late last year.

Caption: Best of the best - Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) Infrastructure Services General Manager Mike Brady (left), Strategic Planning and Economic Development portfolio leader Cr Anne Glasheen, Deputy Mayor and Infrastructure Services Committee chair Cr Carol Taylor, TRC Land Use and Community Principal Heath Martin, TRC Strategic Planning and Economic Development Manager Michelle Milton and Planning and Development Committee chair Cr Chris Tait accept the national ‘Hard Won Victory’ award at PIA’s National Awards for Planning Excellence 2019 at the Gold Coast.

Last Updated: Thursday, 16 May 2019 12:53