Rail drain’s flow-on effect

Blackburn station underpass fixed but houses now flooded


THE State Government’s much vaunted improvements to the notorious Blackburn station underpass failed to handle the latest deluge, leading to flooding of neighbouring properties.

Properties in South Pde flooded on December 7 after the new drainage system at the station reached capacity and overflowed on to the street. The water was too much for the street’s gutters and flowed over into people’s yards.

Susan Rundle said the “horrendous” flooding was the worst she’d seen in a decade. “We measured the water being 70cm deep in our backyard — you can see the line on my husband’s workshop where the water got to,” Ms Rundle said.

“The drainage system was upgraded during the level-crossing removal works to ensure the station underpass didn’t flood, but its seems to have just made things worse for other areas in the neighbourhood.”

Ms Rundle said the water had destroyed her garden, two fences, washed away her driveway and caused damage to electrical items in a back shed, with similar damage to neighbouring properties.

State Liberal Box Hill MP Robert Clark called on Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan to investigate.

“The Government and the Level Crossing Removal Authority owe residents a full explanation,” Mr Clark said. “I call on the minister to get on to the Level Crossing Removal Authority, get on to the contractors, get on to Melbourne Water, get on to anyone else involved and get this sorted out.

“Works to remedy this problem and stop this flooding ever happening again need to be undertaken urgently so residents do not have to live in fear that the next time a downpour comes along they are going to have to go through this experience all over again.”

State Government spokeswoman Hayley McNaughton said the drainage upgrade had been built to standards.

“As part of works to remove the dangerous and congested level crossing on Blackburn Rd the project also upgraded the drainage to mitigate flooding,” Ms McNaughton said.

“The local community now has a vastly improved station that better connects with Blackburn Village and makes it easier for residents to access public transport.”