Pipeload of pain

Steve Mavroudis of Devon Meadows is ramping up his fight with Melbourne Water for a better stormwater pipeline solution. 181145_03. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Brendan Rees

Casey Council and residents of Devon Meadows have stepped up their campaign to stop a proposed stormwater pipeline which will only “create more flooding” once it hits a dam.

The planned 2.7 kilometre pipeline has also been deemed a “problem of the future,” by City of Casey Mayor Geoff Ablett.

He told a 15 May Casey council meeting that the route proposed by Melbourne Water will cause “many, many hundreds of people downstream from Botanic ridge to have more water on their properties.”

The pipeline has been proposed to run in a south easterly direction from the corner of Browns and Craig Road to the market garden at the eastern end of Olive Road – with works to be completed in the next one to three years.

Cr Ablett successfully passed a motion during the meeting for council to fight for a better solution for the proposed pipeline.

“Melbourne Water is an authority, we can’t tell them what to do but we can advocate very strongly on behalf of many thousands of residents,” Cr Ablett said.

“It will affect people who have horses because you can’t keep horses on damp ground,” he added.

Melbourne Water’s Manager of Development Services Rohan Horsley said the pipeline would be built beneath an existing open channel called Christies Drain that runs through about 30 properties.

“Although the proposed pipeline will not increase the extent of flooding on local properties, a small number of residents have expressed concerns about the drainage solution and we continue to actively engage with these residents,” he said.

“Increased stormwater volume supplied to the dam at the southern end of the pipeline will mean additional water can be utilised for irrigation by nearby agricultural producers. Council has also shown interest in using harvested stormwater to irrigate sports fields and open spaces,” he said.

Melbourne Water says a Casey Council Officers Report on 6 February 2018 states the pipeline proposal adequately satisfies the requirements and objectives of the Precinct Structure Planning (PSP).

However Devon Meadows resident Steven Mavroudis said the whole principle behind the project “stunk” and went against the PSP guidelines in Melbourne Water being able to increase the amount of water flow with an additional pipeline.

“Common sense says it’s going to create more flooding at the end of that pipe,” he said.

“By doing this they’re sort of encroaching on green wedge land, they’re disturbing the riparian land which is on the banks of the current drain, and they’re disturbing the environment without conducting I believe the right assessment or surveys.”

“I asked them (Melbourne Water) to prove what building regulation allows someone’s storm water to be dispersed on somebody else’s property and I haven’t had an answer,” he said.

“Why isn’t the sensible approach to run it straight down Craig Road and not to affect any innocent people? That’s beyond me.“

Member for Cranbourne Jude Perera said: “I understand that Melbourne Water has engaged extensively with council on this issue, and I will be meeting with residents and councillors in the near future to discuss the project.“

Melbourne Water says they are continuing to engage with all property owners along the pipeline alignment and the surrounding area.