With Sister at the wheel as we drove between Point Lonsdale and Ocean Grove I remarked I had never seen so much water lying around. It is nice to see a good old fashioned swamp, sorry, wetlands.
'The Point', said Sister as she waved her hand in the direction of the swamp. 'Stocklands! Madden approved it.' Like brother, like sister, we both hate ex State planning minister Justin Madden. Sister is worried that her perceived idyllic location will be spoiled by development. Many others are too and locals are very anti what they see is an overdevelopment on inappropriate land.
Many of us are watching the television and listening to the radio, mesmerised by the disastrous floods in Queensland. One cannot help but suspect that so much housing has been inappropriately built on flood plains. Flood plains are just that, the flat areas that line river banks. They, err, flood.
For someone who has short arms and wears trousers with very deep pockets when it comes to charity, I will make a decent donation to the Queensland government relief appeal and hope the money is spent wisely and not in areas that are government responsibility.
Could the same disaster happen in Melbourne? No, I don't think to the extent it is happening in Brisbane. It would be very odd for southern Victoria and the Yarra catchment to receive so much rain. But, you never know. The Yarra has flooded Melbourne's inner suburbs in the past and could well do so again. Take a look at this photo by Frank Jung.
Now I recall seeing the Yarra in flood where even less of this Yarra River cruise ticket box was visible. Note the footbridge in the background. somewhere below the water is now a cafe, sitting on one of the concrete pontoon looking structures. Yes, there are flood plans in place for the cafe. I was a bit further down the river looking upstream. One's eye is not a good river height measuring device, but if the river rose to a similar height as in the photo, I can see the ground floor level of the World Trade Centre Wharf going under the very least.
It does not puzzle me that Toowoomba residents were caught unaware by the approaching wall of water. I can also recall heavy rain in Melbourne, rain that flooded basement carparks, washed tramway track ballast in Dandenong Road downhill to pile up in a depression and a river of swirling red muddy water form before my very eyes that ran down from the direction of Government House, across St Kilda Road and down Grant Street past Prince Henrys Hospital.
We live near rivers and on flood plains at our peril. I'll leave rising sea levels for another day.