Work to begin on Parkway fix
The next steps towards reducing flooding on Wakehurst Parkway are now underway, with Northern Beaches Council voting to conduct a detailed design and environmental assessment of the works.
The decision follows Council’s release of a feasibility study into floodproofing options last year, which found the ‘best outcome’ would come from a combination of mitigation works costing $17.5 million.
Currently, the arterial road closes an average of five times per year, with the floodproofing measures forecast to reduce closures to once every two years.
Environmental investigations and the creation of a detailed design for the Oxford Falls section will now get begin, with Council aiming to finalise the design by mid-2022 before commencing construction.
However, it says further assessment to devise alternative floodproofing solutions is needed at the Bends site due to the ‘potential environment impacts’.
Mayor Michael Regan says community consultation on the floodproofing found that while locals were widely supportive of the works, views diverged on the preferred method and the acceptability of the environmental impacts.
“While a quick solution would be great, in the case of Wakehurst Parkway there is a lot of detail to consider along with environmental regulations and site constraints and multiple land ownership,” he says.
The move follows pressure from Pittwater MP Rob Stokes and Federal MP for Mackellar Jason Falinski to begin works, following the road’s recent closure during March’s severe weather event.
Mr Stokes pointed to the $18.1 million in State Government grants provided to improve the road, urging Council to ‘get on with it’.
However, Council says its flood mitigation works will not prevent road closures during extreme weather events only smaller flood events, with the only option to raise the road.
This, it says, would be the responsibility of the manager of the road – Transport for NSW.
“The Federal Government has also not provided any funding, despite requests from, as we understand it, the State Government, as well us at Council,” Mayor Regan added.
“Working with what we have, it makes sense to progress with what has community support, and further, to do more work to improve both environmental outcomes and ensure we don’t create additional flood issues in other areas.”