The head of Victoria Racing Club says a flood wall it erected around Melbourne’s Flemington racecourse “served its purpose” after the site was left undamaged during last October’s flooding that left nearby homesinundated.
Victoria Racing Club and Melbourne Water fronted a parliamentary inquiry on Wednesday into last October’s floods, after a report – commissioned by the water authority – into the Maribyrnong flooding that affected more than 500 homes was handed down on Friday. The review concluded it was unclear whether the flood wall had exacerbated flooding for residents, saying the available material did not allow a conclusion to be made.
Steve Rosich, the chief executive of VRC, refused to be drawn on whether there were any adverse consequences arising from the construction of the wall, which was built in 2007, for surrounding suburbs.
“Given my expertise, that’s for others to determine, other than the wall served its purpose and so we’ll leave that to others,” he said. “We were able to conduct the [spring racing] carnival as planned. The 600 horses that were housed onsite were safe.”
Last year, the chief executive of the state authority for the sport, Racing Victoria, said the flood wall had “unintended consequences for neighbouring residents”.Nerina Di Lorenzo, managing director of Melbourne Water, pointed to the recent review’s finding that mitigating works that were put in place for the wall to offset its impacts “appeared to have functioned”.
“We also recognise what a significant issue this historical decision is for communities,” she told the inquiry.Di Lorenzo said Melbourne Water would re-assess the impact of the wall after April next year when modelling work it has commissioned as part of the investigation is completed.
But Geoff Crapper, a hydrologist who worked at Melbourne Water for 30 years until 2003, told the inquiry the assessment needed to be done by independent experts.But Geoff Crapper, a hydrologist who worked at Melbourne Water for 30 years until 2003, told the inquiry the assessment needed to be done by independent experts.
Melbourne Water did not object to the proposal at the time.Representatives from the three councils affected by the Maribyrnong river flooding also appeared before the inquiry.Sarah Carter, the mayor of Maribyrnong city council, said it remained unclear if the flood wall contributed to the extent of the floods.