Flooded land regenerated

Neena Baker, Arthur Baker, and Di Lewin at the tree planting day at Lions Park on 21 April. Pictures: GRACE CRICHTON

Flood-affected land was rehabilitated thanks to a tree planting project at Lower Tenthill on Sunday 21 April.

More than 700 native seedlings were planted along the bank of Lockyer Creek, helping to bolster native habitat and reduce future flood damage.

The project area, adjacent to and including Lions Park, Lower Tenthill, consists of two recently acquired lots which were bought back under the Voluntary Home Buy-Back (VHBB) program.

Community groups and volunteers got their hands dirty planting the 51 species of natives on the lots and in the park after a Welcome to Country by the Yuggera Dancers.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan said the community tree planting day, which forms part of council’s Resilient Rivers project, would deliver significant environmental benefits and reduce the community’s flood risk.

“Not only will planting these trees help reduce the impacts of future flooding by preventing sediment loss and bank erosion during major flood events, they will also increase and enhance habitat for native animals, including koalas which have been recorded in the local area, which is a wonderful outcome,” she said.

“To top it off, this is a fantastic use of flood-affected land.

“Thanks to the VHBB program, we’ve helped move some of our most vulnerable community members from high-risk locations such as these, and to know these two properties will be regenerated is truly heartwarming.”

Minister for Fire and Disaster Recovery Nikki Boyd said voluntary home buy-back had been identified for homes that were the most severely impacted by flooding in early 2022.

“Under the program, properties are purchased by the local council using program funds and the home demolished or removed. The land is then re-zoned to an appropriate, non-occupied use such as green space,” she said.

“This revegetation project in the Lockyer Valley is a wonderful example of how the buy-back program is building resilience and assisting communities to reduce the risks of future disasters.

“Flood-impacted homeowners have now moved on, free from the risk of future flooding, while communities such as Lower Tenthill will benefit from additional green space and native habitat.”

The VHBB program is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and State Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, as part of the $741 million Resilient Homes Fund.

Council has acquired 24 properties under the VHBB program and is expected to complete demolition/removal of the properties by mid-to-late 2024.

The tree planting day was hosted by council in collaboration with Greening Australia and their sponsor Nature’s Own, and the Council of Mayors South East Queensland (COMSEQ).

Ongoing maintenance of the plants and further creek bank planting will be completed at a later date as part of the Resilient Rivers project.