Horseshoe Bend knows the power of flood

HORSESHOE Bend may be a quaint, quiet location but it is a front line in Maitland’s quest for managing the planned reinvigoration of the city with the threat and fears of flooding.

Maitland City Council infrastructure strategy and works manager Chris McGrath said the suburb had about 1800 residents but the council’s settlement strategy pointed to a five-fold increase in population.

Mr McGrath said the strategy projected a possible increase in population back to pre-1955 flood numbers of about 5000 as a way of managing growth and bringing people and business back to the city centre.

‘‘We have urban strategies to consider,’’ Mr McGrath said.

Planning had ‘‘sterilised’’ much of central Maitland because of earlier flooding, he said.

As the council prepares to release a draft flood plain risk management plan, former Horseshoe Bend resident Peter Bogan said after what he experienced in the floods of 1949 and 1955 he swore he would never live there again.

He leads tours of the area, one of the worst hit in 1955.

Mr Bogan said the tours informed people about what had happened and what could happen again.

February marks the 58th anniversary of the 1955 Hunter Valley flood.

The draft would divide the city into risk management zones and there was the possibility properties of existing residents may need to be resumed, Mr McGrath said.

Other major considerations include new flood mitigation works and evacuation plans.

The existing levy would not save Maitland in a one-in-100-year flood, Mr McGrath said.

Maitland and Lorn were evacuated in the 2007 flooding and that was a one-in-15-year event, he said.

The tours conducted by Mr Bogan are organised by the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority and will be  on February 17 and 24.

For more information call 49301030.

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