Lara Flood Study 2020

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

We responded to an inquiry from A Current Affair, regarding the Lara Flood Study.

Greater Geelong Director City Services Guy Wilson-Browne:

How many properties has City of Greater Geelong rezoned with flood overlay in Lara, that were not previously covered by flood overlay?

4,213 properties have been designated as land liable to flooding. No properties have been rezoned. Council has prepared Amendment C339ggee to the Planning Scheme and it is currently on public exhibition and open for comment.

The Amendment proposes changes to planning controls in areas identified as flood prone. The Special Building Overlay would be applied in urban areas, with the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay and Floodway Overlay to be applied in rural or streamside areas. Small portions of six properties would be zoned to the Urban Floodway Zone.

What was this decision based on?

The Lara Flood Study was a joint initiative between the City, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Lara is particularly flat, low lying and vulnerable to flooding, but existing data and maps were inadequate to best identify and mitigate the risks.

The flood study has determined risk using a detailed scientific process that combines current and historical data, survey work and flood modelling. It is based on a 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (1 in 100 year) event.

Will City of Greater Geelong seek a second opinion?

A peer review of the independent consultant’s methodology was previously conducted. The report was endorsed by Council in July 2020. 

What did the Lara Flood Study cost City of Greater Geelong?

The total project has cost $560,129. The City has spent $5,289 on the study, with in-kind contributions of $147,840. A further $407,000 was provided by Victorian Government agencies.

Does City of Greater Geelong accept that some properties may have been incorrectly classified with the flood designation?

We have identified that some properties designated as liable to flood may only be impacted by minor floods, and we will determine if the overlay designation should be retained on those properties. We will be directly contacting these property owners.

Is there an avenue of appeal for homeowners who feel they’ve been incorrectly classified?

Findings of the Lara Flood Study are proposed to be incorporated into the Planning Scheme via Amendment C339ggee. The proposed amendment is out for public comments and submissions will be received until 31 August.

Council will consider all submissions to the Amendment. Where submissions cannot be resolved, an Independent Panel will be appointed by the Minister for Planning to consider submissions.

Individually, any change to a flood designation needs to go through a revocation request. The property owner must demonstrate works have been undertaken to mitigate flooding risk.

How does City of Greater Geelong respond to the likely raise in home insurance that homeowners will face as a result of this decision?

The study is aimed at better protecting our residents, their properties and community infrastructure. The information we have gained will ensure that all buildings and developments  are built to a standard that will protect them against future flooding and minimise impacts to neighbouring properties.

Each insurance company has their own process for calculating their premiums. Criteria would generally include historical flood information, claims history and building type.

Some residents believe that the flood overlay could have been avoided if City of Greater Geelong had provided better maintenance to the existing drainage system. Has Council properly kept drainage infrastructure in-line with Lara’s population boom over the last two decades?

As part of the flood study, we have created an inspection and maintenance program for our critical drainage assets in Lara. We have also identified priority capital works for drainage infrastructure in the region.

Drainage systems are generally designed to accommodate stormwater runoff from a 20% AEP (1 in 5 year) event. It is not feasible for all stormwater to be collected in underground drainage systems as the drains required would have to be enormous and cost prohibitive. In a 1% AEP (1 in 100 year) event, the piped system quickly fills, and the additional runoff flows along the natural drainage paths towards a larger waterway across properties, roads and reserves.

More information on the project is is available here 

Page last updated: Tuesday, 24 August 2021