The Saga of Cairns City Council and Storm Surge Mapping continues - 2 Dec 06

Submitted by Webmaster on Sat, 02/12/2006 - 11:10

Yesterday, I received Cairn’s City Council’s ‘Report to the Community’ in which they tell us how great they were last year. Obviously the next election is getting close. One of the things that they are crowing about is how prepared they were when Cyclone Larry hit. If they are so good, why is it still so easy to spot unresolved issues? Most of the issues that are mentioned in FutureofCairns are really ‘test’ issues. Test issues are small but significant issues which are easily fixed. We are testing Council’s interest in responding to the community and the councils competence in fixing these issues. On all test issues ever raised by FutureofCairns, Cairns City Council still rates a full zero out of ten as they have never responded to anything. It may be counter productive to be so direct. However when matter are cut down to their core our message is Cairns City Council fails to response to many reasonable community requests and we think that this is unacceptable. Last week as the ‘Report to the Community’ was being prepared, I had another look at the Councils website for cyclone related information. The information is still quite hard to find even when you know exactly which document you are looking for. The information I was looking for is the storm surge maps which predict which parts of Cairns will be flooded by the sea when a cyclone of a given strength blows in from a particular direction. In the Council's website this information goes by the cryptic name 'Z card' and not a commonsense name like 'Storm Surge Map'. Storm surge maps are as important to Cairns as they are to New Orleans as they predict which parts of the City will need to be evacuated and which parts will be extensively damaged and perhaps rendered uninhabitable. So what does this critical resource look like. Here it is what the image looks like when you zoom in. The image on the left is the only version of the maps that can be downloaded by the public. You don’t need me to tell you that the image is low quality and that the map would be hard for many people to understand. I don’t know why the map is so bad and so hard to find. It is really easy to put a good map into a pdf document. If the Council can’t do it FutureofCairns will do it for them. There also seems to be increasing practise of putting degraded images on the web so that members of the public can’t use maps and plans as data layers. In either case the Cairns City Council needs a good shaking.People have previously asked FutureofCairns where to obtain these maps. To respond to this request FutureofCairns has converted the storm surge maps into an overlay for Google Earth that you can download. It took less that thirty minutes with cheap software to produce a Google Earth layer so even councils could do this or something similar. Click on the screen shot to enlarge.  Follow this link to see a close up of North Cairns The purple tint is areas that would flood with a small to moderate storm surge depending on whether it was high or low tide. Yellow is the approximately the worst case scenario and represents a full 6 m storm surge on a very high tide. IMPORTANT NOTE: The maps seem to have some errors, some areas that are barely above high tide level are shown in yellow when they should be shown in purple. The maps a rough and an approximate indicator of storm surge flooding only. Areas that are not tinted could also flood in some circumstances due to freshwater backing up as a result of storm surge or other unknown factors. Some areas near Edmonton and on the Barron River were off the edge of the map and storm surge levels cannot be shown in these areas. FutureofCairns cannot be held responsible for any decisions you may make based on this overlay. Download Google kml layer for storm surge map for Cairns. When prompted, save the file to your hard drive. After that start Google Earth and use the File/Open menu to open the file. Google will then zoom in to Cairns and show the map. If you don't have Google Earth, you will have to download it from here. Google Earth requires a broadband connection.  

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