FLOOD PRONE: Council debates wisdom of Regand Park development

SOME Dubbo councillors are uneasy about developing the city’s own “Darling Harbour” on flood zone land that could require costly repairs.

The Dubbo City Council revealed its vision for Regand Park to an admiring works and services committee this week.

The master plan for the 67 hectares of recreational zoned land along the Macquarie River led one former mayor to proclaim it would be “Dubbo’s Darling Harbour”.

Cr Allan Smith was enthusiastic, but not all his colleagues felt the same way after reading the staff report and attached master plan from Moir Landscape Architects.

Cr Ben Shields raised the issue of establishing a velodrome, criterium track, adventure playground, off-leash dog area and more on a flood plain.

“It’s all very well to say it could be our Darling Harbour, but Darling Harbour doesn’t flood every five or 10 years,” Cr Shields said.

After a question from Cr Shields, council general manager Mark Riley confirmed the cost of repairing the visitors information centre after the December 2010 flood was “at least $100,000”.

State and federal governments have made disaster relief payments available after some events, and Mr Riley said the state government paid in the case of the visitors centre.

Cr Shields was not convinced by the argument.

“Yes, but whether it’s the ratepayer or the taxpayer, it’s the same thing,” he said.

Parks and landcare services director Murray Wood said the work would take into account the flood plain.

Most of the infrastructure in the master plan was on the upper levels of the plain and was consistent with existing infrastructure, he said.

He cited Lady Cutler and the touch football clubhouse as examples. Those decisions on the detail could be made later, he said.

Cr Tina Reynolds was not convinced by the director.

“This is a great plan, but is it the right plan for Regand Park?” she asked.

“Do we move parts of it to another part of Dubbo?”

Cr Rod Towney said he had come to the same conclusions as Cr Reynolds and Cr Shields.

Other councillors were more encouraging - Cr Peter Bartley said it was another example of the council’s forward planning and he congratulated Mr Wood and his predecessor, Ken Rogers.

The committee supported the director’s recommendation to note the master plan and place it on public display for 28 days.

The item will come before the ordinary meeting of the council on Monday.

Councillors have questioned the viability of building 'Dubbo's Darling Harbour' on a flood plain.

Councillors have questioned the viability of building 'Dubbo's Darling Harbour' on a flood plain.


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