Address the risks
A PLEA to all three levels of government.
We are all well aware that the Queensland coast, especially in the tropics, is exposed to severe weather events.
We are aware that in recent times we have been lucky to have severe weather events miss our major centres.
We are aware that we have much larger populations than we used to, and that we have built on to the coastal plain, and river flats and lowlands.
We are aware that these things were done with the sanction, and oversight, of all levels of government.
Could those same three levels of government put politics aside and start addressing the risks they have created.
We need them to start working on real cyclone shelters.
These shelters need to be elevated. They need to be rated to category five.
Now, as I understand a true category five structure has no windows, perhaps this could be addressed with integral steel shutters. They need their own water and power. They need to be able to be used for the provision of basic medical assistance. They need to be built with consideration for access by air ( helicopters). They need to be accessible. They need to be in various locations.
Now, I am not proposing
PLANNING: People take refuge in the Townsville Walker St evacuation centre during Cyclone Yasi single use structures.
But these could do double duty as sporting venues, as t heat resorentertainment centres, as training centres for the fire brigade and SES, as military t r ansit accommodation and many other uses.
Spreading them around the area would assist with decentralisation of major centres.
We have a hospital in Cairns that the government declined to move from the foreshore and storm surge zone some years ago, due to aesthetics. We have a hospital built in Townsville that was too small from the start, with inadequate parking and access. We have a freeway which is such in name only. We have so many examples of inadequate planning and forethought.
And as a little thought, why not build a multi-storey carpark at Townsville Hospital in such a way that it could be an elevated, category five cyclone ( and earthquake) proof emergency medical facility ( at least triage and minor medical).
Put in an earthquake rated elevated walkway into the hospital ( a strong version of what was created at the John Flynn Centre on the Gold Coast would work).
That would give you an emergency helipad area on the roof, a strong structure in the carpark area, vehicle access to the bottom and access to the hospital through a weather proof walkway ( or multiple walkways for redundancy).
You could incorporate water storage into the base, and plant rooms into the upper structure ( note: not on the bottom level).
A planning marvel known as reserve capacity for emergencies – that also solves the current parking problems.
Why don’t all levels of government prove us wrong and come up with a practical, sensible and realistic plan for shelters that will work.
I challenge all levels of politics to prove me wrong and actually do something that is ahead of the game.