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12 March 1991 - Current

South Parade, Blackburn, flooding
Page 4462
13 December 2017

Mr CLARK (Box Hill) (19:00:25) — (13 814) I raise with the Minister for Public Transport the flooding that has occurred in South Parade, Blackburn, as a result of the Blackburn rail project, and I ask the minister to find out exactly what has gone wrong and to have urgent remedial works undertaken so this flooding does not happen again.

Last Thursday evening numerous homes along South Parade were inundated with overflow from the rail project's new drainage system. Backyards were flooded, garages were filled with water and driveways were washed away, causing thousands of dollars of damage and requiring hours of work to clean up. After turning the South Parade shopping strip into a concrete jungle in the name of fixing the drainage, the government's handling of the rail project has turned a quiet residential street into a flood plain. Photos taken by residents show water gushing out through the grill around the top of the drainage pit next to the station and strewing gravel and other debris across the road before pouring downhill into residents' homes.

Last Thursday's flooding was the third and most damaging of the flood events that have started to occur since the rail project works have been undertaken. Long-term residents say that prior to the rail project works there had been no major flooding in South Parade since a drain was installed in the 1960s. This flooding is just the latest in a long series of bungles in implementing this project, from not widening the pedestrian underpass, to the needless cutting down of iconic trees, to refusing to listen to residents about the bike path route, to trashing the rear fence line of Glen Ebor Avenue residents.

Residents who yet again have to clean up after this flooding and replace damaged property are rightly demanding answers. The government and the Level Crossing Removal Authority owe residents a full explanation. What has gone wrong? How could it ever have been allowed to happen? And what is the government going to do to fix it? I call on the minister to get onto the Level Crossing Removal Authority, get onto the contractors, get onto Melbourne Water, get onto anyone else involved and get this sorted out. Works to remedy this problem and stop this flooding ever happening again need to be undertaken urgently so residents do not have to live in fear that the next time a downpour comes along they are going to have to go through this experience all over again.

Getting rid of the Blackburn level crossing should have been a project the whole community could be pleased with. It was funded in 2014 under the previous state government, but its implementation has been appallingly handled by the current government, and the community is continuing to pay the price.