Sharon and Travis Watson outside their Karalee home which was inundated in the recent floods.
Sharon and Travis Watson outside their Karalee home which was inundated in the recent floods. Sarah Harvey

Flood house buy-back ruled out

IPSWICH City Council has scotched rumours it is planning to buy out people’s properties in flood-affected areas of the city.

In the weeks after the floods hit, Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said a program for buying back flood-prone homes could be part of the inquiry into the flood disaster.

Ipswich planning head Paul Tully said last month he supported a review of planning schemes and better early warning systems but said he had now ruled out buy-outs of properties in flood-prone areas.

Councillor Heather Morrow, whose division covers low-lying suburbs such as Karalee and Barellan Point, said residents asked her if the council would buy them out.

Karalee was one of the worst-hit suburbs during the devastating floods along with Goodna, East Ipswich, Brassall, Basin Pocket, Moores Pocket, North Booval, North Ipswich and the CBD.

“People are saying they can’t rebuild if they were flooded and the council is going to buy their property,” Cr Morrow said.

“I’m hearing stories around the place of residents wanting to walk away from their place because the money they would need to invest to rebuild wouldn’t be viable.

“So those people would be happy for the council to resume their properties.

“We’re not going to but I would say it would be about a 50-50 split in terms of people in flood-affected areas wanting to rebuild and those who want the council to buy them out.

“Providing their house is structurally sound, council will not prevent the rebuilding of their home and will not be resuming land in flood-affected areas.

“If they are worried about their house, they need to get it checked out by an engineer.”

For Karalee couple Sharon and Travis Watson, who live in Voyager Parade, news they wouldn’t be bought out was a bitter pill to swallow.

“We heard rumours that people were being told in flood-affected areas that they wouldn’t be allowed to rebuild and the council would buy their land back. We’d love that,” Mrs Watson said.

“We’ve just spent all our money renovating this place and it was inundated.”

Mrs Watson said she and her husband were overwhelmed that their friends and workmates put on a golf day last weekend at Sandy Gallop golf club to raise some money for them.

Darryl Jackson, who lives further towards the river from the Watsons on Queensborough Parade, was keen to have the uncertainty sorted out after getting second- and third-hand reports that people would be bought out.

“That gives us the chance to begin the tedious process of rebuilding,” Mr Jackson said.

“We were advised not to jump right in and rebuild because the council might stop people from rebuilding in flood-affected areas. Someone went to a meeting at Karalee School and came back and said they were told not to jump in too quick. I think Anna Bligh started it when she said some councils may have to resume some of the land.

“We’ve been here 29 years. Our house wasn’t as bad as some of the houses along here that were significantly damaged.”



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