Redlynch residents seek legal advice over giant towers
Furious homeowners in Redlynch are in talks with a national law firm about a potential class action over the installation of 8 giant towers that will alert residents to major flooding emergencies at Copperlode Dam.
The towers will feature loudspeakers and soar up to 20 metres high – almost half the length of an Olympic swimming pool, with installation set to begin later this month throughout the Redlynch Valley from Crystal Cascades to Brinsmead.
The towers are a joint project by Cairns Regional Council and the State Government, with installation to begin within the next few weeks regardless of concerns and objections by homeowners.
But Redlynch residents say the new warning system could devalue house prices and increase insurance premiums. The towers are being installed due to legislation introduced back in 2008.
Redlynch resident Steven Dean told TropicNow he is in talks with Maurice Blackburn Lawyers about the potential for compensation, saying his family home – along with hundreds more in the valley – will be negatively impacted by the new risk profile of his property.
“Thousands of dollars will be wiped off property prices in Redlynch Valley and insurance prices will go up even further than they already have over the last few years,” he said.
“When I bought my property the government or council didn't tell me about these legal requirements that put us in a major flood risk zone, even though the legislation has been there since 2008.
“But when I go to sell my house, I will have to disclose that it’s in a major flood risk area, so of course that will devalue my property.
“By my estimation there are up to 1000 homes affected by this new flood zoning, and I’m sure more people will join me in looking at what legal action we might be able to take against the council and state government.
“I’ve never, ever thought of taking a class action or anything like that before in my life, but this is my family asset and it’s totally wrong to bring this in now.”
'NO INCREASED RISK'
In a letter distributed to affected households on January 31, council told residents the new early warning towers would be completed by June.
You can view the locations of the towers by clicking here.
“Under direction from State Government, Council is enhancing the measures contained within the (Copperlode Dam) Emergency Action Plan and is expanding the early warning system.
“This correspondence is to advise you of outdoor warning stations that will be installed in your area.
“Using the most advanced technology available, the outdoor warning stations will consist of a series of towers housing speakers mounted on metal poles at a height of 15-20 metres above ground. A visual lights warning system may also be included but is yet to be confirmed.
“It is a requirement of state legislation that dam owners have a robust early warning system to notify the population at risk in the event of a dam emergency. This does not imply there is an increased risk, but provides greater security to the community in the unlikely event of an emergency situation arising.”
The towers will form part of council’s “multi-channel” communications during an emergency, with real-time alerts and information also delivered via text messages, phone calls, emails, radio broadcasts and social media.
More information about the Copperlode Dam Emergency Action Plan is available here.