Flood pains on the flood plain

Two Wells resident Mick Tennant has lived on the corner of Williams and Two Wells/Gawler Roads for approximately 13 years.
He is a pensioner with a passion for horses, his thoroughbreds residing in neat yards he has created at the front of his property.
After heavy downpours of rain, however, the horse yards resemble small dams and the animals are subject to miserable conditions until such time as the water dries up (pictured above).
Living on a flood plain has its restrictions, and Mr Tennant is unable to dig his own drainage trenches, or cart in dirt to build up the yards.
To make any alterations to the property he must first lodge a development application with council to assess how the changes will impact the surrounding land.
Development applications come at a cost, and Mr Tennant believes that neither he nor his landlord, should foot the bill.
“Council put a dogleg in the intersection and ever since then I’ve been getting flooded,” Mr Tennant said.
He says the problem arose when APC raised the level of Williams Road adjacent to his property and because no drainage was installed, all run off from the road enters his horse yards.
“I have been into the council offices and I have rung up, but nobody got back to me, until that letter,” he explained.
The letter Mr Tennant received from council, at the beginning of this year, informed him that his action of bringing in eight tonnes of dirt to his property was classed as non-complying development, and he was ordered to cease any work.
“I had the dirt delivered after heavy rainfall in late December last year,” Mr Tennant said.
“I had a mare with a foal and I didn’t want them standing in water.”
Mr Tennant claims he was never previously told by council that he was not permitted to take such action.
Adelaide Plains Council development and community general manager, Robert Veitch, said the Floodplain Policy, now 20 years old, is very clear that all development must go through the proper channels to ensure any development complies with council requirements.
The onus is on the landowner to start the process by submitting a development application Mr Veitch explained.
In response to Mr Tennant saying council has ignored him, Mr Veitch said he, “totally refutes that claim”.
Since issuing the notice of non-complying development, APC staff, and the landowner, have met at the property to discuss Mr Tennant’s position.
Mr Tennant was informed a hydrological assessment would be required to accompany a development application, and this was to be organised and paid for by the landowner, or himself.
A development application was subsequently lodged by the landowner in March this year who also engaged an engineer from AWE to visit the property and provide a quote for a hydrology report.
Mr Tennant claims he was verbally told by the engineer there would be no issue if he were to mitigate flooding issues on his property, however neither he nor council are in receipt of any documentation of that visit, and the landowner has since withdrawn the development application, leaving Mr Tennant with an uncomfortable and costly situation.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Tennant at August’s council meeting Adelaide Plains Ratepayers Association chairman, John Lush, said Mr Tennant was in a really difficult position.
“First he has an animal welfare issue where his livestock are standing in water,” Mr Lush said.
“His vet has written a letter to council outlining the serious health issues, which places him in jeopardy, as it might have some RSPCA issues.”
“Mr Tennant would like to move some soil from one end of his yard to another and create a slope in the property so that he has a dry zone for his horses to stand when it is really wet.”
His inability to do this without a development application saw Mr Lush describe the situation as “being stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
Mr Tennant feels disempowered by the process and the entirety of the situation.
“I don’t know what to do anymore, it’s not good I tell you,” he said.
Mr Tennant has spoken at APC’s open forum session at monthly council meetings 22 times since November 2014 in relation to his flooding issue.
When Mr Veitch was asked if council accepts Mr Tennant’s claim that the flooding issue was caused by the roadworks conducted near his property, he said he did not believe that was the case as the roadworks were completed a number of years ago.
“The deviation of the Williams/Gawler Road alignment occurred in the first half of 2012, with the work done as a Black Spot Project,” Mr Veitch said.
“As advised to the landowner and occupant on several occasions, with better on-site detention the amount of rain water that currently ponds within the subject land would be reduced i.e. some of the existing roof space does not have gutters installed, so with gutters all structures/hard surfaces, combined with rain water storage tanks, the amount of rain water ponding in the horse yards would be reduced.
“This is a matter for the landowner (and occupant) to resolve.”
Mr Tennant has approached his federal member of parliament, Nick Champion, who is currently looking into the situation on his behalf.

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