Drain tampering causes flooding

FLOOD: The Kennett River Holiday Park flooded twice last week after torrential rain in the region.

Colac Otway Shire Council believes unauthorised tampering of an Otways drain was responsible for flooding a Great Ocean Road caravan park.

But the owner of Kennett River Holiday Park has blamed the council for the park’s second flooding in two days.

An estimated 100 to 150 millimetres of rain fell in the Otways on Thursday night and owner Briony Grocott said her park had been half a metre underwater.

“There’s a drain at the top of the park and they’ve unblocked that drain and that’s supposed to cope with all the rain,” she said on Friday.

“The council were here yesterday and unblocked the drains and removed the sandbags – we had a full-on river coming down the cabins and out to the ocean, which has caused all the damage.”

The second flood came after about 200 campers evacuated the Kennett River park on Wednesday as water rose to up to a metre in the low-lying spot.

Ms Grocott said Country Fire Authority volunteers pumped water from the park by 5pm Wednesday and sandbagged and blocked drains in hope of preventing another flood the following night.

Ms Grocott alleged the council failed to unblock a drain at the bottom of the park, causing water to pool at the northern end.

“Our loss of income is going to be phenomenal from here on in,” she said.

“It’s only our second summer here and we feel like we’ve been screwed over big time.”

Council chief executive officer Rob Small confirmed council staff had “removed a mound of gravel, plastic, timber, firewood, picnic tables, water bottles and other refuse which had been placed across Grey River Road” because the mound made travel difficult for motorists.

“The council’s maintenance staff understand that over time, a number of cross-road culverts which ran under Grey River Road had been blocked by other parties to prevent the direct discharge of water from the road onto their properties,” Mr Small said.

“This has resulted in the concentration of water flow along the bottom reaches of Grey River Road,” he said.

“This, combined with the significant rain event experienced in a narrow strip of the Otways, contributed to the build-up of water in certain parts of Kennett River.”

Mr Small said council workers left the culvert, which discharged in the direction of the caravan park, blocked at the park owners’ request.

“Another culvert which discharges into a gully at the top of Grey River Road, which had been temporarily blocked during the storm, was cleared so that water could be directed down the gully in an attempt to reduce the amount of water discharging towards the Kennett River township,” he said.

“It would appear the issue in this instance is related more to the ability of the wetland to cope with the volumes of water created by the intense rain event.”

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