Grantham residents view the wreckage of their town.
Grantham residents view the wreckage of their town. Mel Maeseele

Plan to move Grantham quashed

A PROPOSAL to move the entire flood-stricken Lockyer Valley community of Grantham to higher ground has been quashed.

But there are still plans for half a dozen flood-affected families to move to new homes on the higher “safe” side of town.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Steve Jones said the council was in ongoing talks with Queensland Reconstruction Authority to work out “the best outcome for the community”.

The idea of removing the entire township to a safer site about 5km away was canvassed among residents before the decision was made to drop the idea.

“We are definitely not moving the whole town. From talking with people in the community that's not what they want either,” Cr Jones said.

“We are trying to help this community move forward as quickly as possible and in a way that they feel comfortable with.”

Police Inspector Mike McKay has been appointed as senior liaison officer to work with the council, the community and the reconstruction authority to help flood-affected towns move forward.

“When I first drove into Grantham after the disaster I was shocked,” Insp McKay said.

“The town resembled nothing of its former self.”

Insp McKay, who has previous disaster recovery experience after helping Brisbane back to its feet following the 1974 floods, and North Queensland following Cyclone Larry in 2006, said Grantham's would be a long road to recovery.

“Along with council and the reconstruction authority we are talking with residents to find out what they want and to help them get back on their feet,” Insp McKay said.

“It was originally an option to move the whole town of Grantham but after speaking with the locals half the community said they didn't want to leave while the other half did.

“We can't force people to leave unwillingly so we have to find a solution that meets everyone's needs.”

Seventeen people died when a wall of water tore through Grantham on January 10.

Cr Jones said council employees had been talking with each flood-affected Grantham resident to find out his or her individual circumstances.

“There are a small number, about five families, who have decided they want to stay in Grantham but don't want to rebuild in the flood area,” Cr Jones said.

“We are looking at a subdivision on higher ground in Grantham and we are discussing ways to include this land in the urban footprint so we can develop it.”

Queensland Reconstruction Authority chair Major General Mick Slater said the disaster recovery agency was in talks with the council.

“Any planning options for Grantham are a matter for the council and these are being developed through its extensive community consultations, which involves the authority representatives,” Maj Gen Slater said.

“There is an active dialogue between the council and the authority and we are confident that this will continue.”

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