Due to the steep sides of the Fyans Creek valley, flash flooding occurs very quickly in Halls Gap, with little warning. An effective response by the SES or council is not possible as time is too short, and access to Halls Gap along Grampians Road can be quickly cut by fast flowing water. Because of this, the initial flood response needs to be self-managed by the Halls Gap community. However, to date there has been no formal arrangements to support this, and there is no local SES sub-unit in the town. Responsibilities have not been allocated, and basic resources such as sandbags, sand, sandbag filling frames, etc., are not in place.
To address this, the SES has proposed that we establish a Halls Gap Sandbag Facility. This would involve the purchase of a 20ft shipping container, and its transport to Halls Gap. Parks Victoria have agreed to store the container at a depot on behalf of the community (see photos of a similar facility in Skipton.)
The container would be stocked with
- Sandbags and rolls of plastic (provided free by SES)
- Pallets to stack filled sandbags (provided free by SES)
- A Bag Trolley for shifting sandbag bundles
- Shovels and Brooms
- Safety Bollards and SES Barrier Tape
- Bottled Water
- SES signage giving instructions on how to fill sandbags
- Sandbag filling stands
A response team would need to be established, drawn from community volunteers, and trained by the SES. Volunteers would only be required when a flood event occurs, and they would only need to operate the facility until the SES arrives on-site i.e. it would be a very limited commitment.
We all have a vested interest in managing the impact of flash flooding on homes and businesses in the community. If you are prepared to volunteer, or just want to tell us you support establishing such a facility, let us know.
If we get sufficient support, we’ll take the project further. If not, we’ll drop it, so let us know your thoughts! Send an email with ‘Sandbag Facility’ as the subject,. and include your name and contact details, to the Resilience Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rod Lambert, Halls Gap Resilience Group