Friday, August 5, 2011

Why Barham isn't Venice

Another week, another issue effecting our town (and no, I have not forgotten about our white line fiasco ...when is that community painting day?).
I wish to draw people's attention to another very real issue effecting our local economy: the SES flood warnings for the Murray River at Barham. (Note: I am not referring at all to the people of surrounding areas of Benjeroop, Murrabit and Kerang districts who were affected by flood waters in a catastrophic & devastating way)
Many of us in town, I am sure, received numerous phone calls over summer from concerned friends outside of our district, worried about our welfare and if indeed we were submerged under flood waters in the township of Barham. While causing some of us amusement that people actually thought this may have been the case, it also caused an extremely detrimental effect to our local economy in the form of a sharp downturn in visitors to our town and district.
This is happening once again with the recent SES flood warnings for the Murray River at Barham.
Barham's economy is greatly enhanced by and partially dependent on the tourists and travellers that come and visit. Unfortunately when the SES issues a flood warning for the township of Barham (albeit minor rural flooding), people are prone to misinterpret that warning and visualise our town in a Venetian like setting, ie: our streets as canals and the inhabitants getting around in Australian gondolas (tinnies). Whilst amusing (now I am visualising it myself), this is not a good thing. People then tend to avoid coming to visit as they mistakenly believe we are cut off by floodwaters.
What is the solution? I am sure it cannot be that hard to rectify. Perhaps more specific flood warnings? Are minor rural flood warnings really necessary? As I have stated in a previous letter, the SES & their volunteers do a brilliant job under difficult circumstances ...however the issue of flood warnings needs to be addressed and a solution found.

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