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Levee banks project

Flooded creek with water over the road


Many homes and buildings in Castlemaine, Campbells Creek and Chewton have been flooded or impacted by rising levels of Barkers Creek, Forest Creek and Campbells Creek during periods of high rainfall.

Following severe flooding events in 2010, 2011 and 2012 the North Central Catchment Management Authority contracted GHD to develop a Flood Management Plan for Castlemaine, Campbells Creek and Chewton. The plan has a number of recommendations to reduce the impact of flooding. The recommendations include:
• Carry out infrastructure activities – build six levee banks and undertake waterway improvements
• Develop a strategic plan for urban waterways
• Review flood warning systems
• Amend the planning scheme to adopt flood model mapping.

Following community consultation Council adopted the plan in 2015.

This project – preparation for levee banks and waterway improvements

This project is focussed on the infrastructure-related recommendations – the levee banks and waterway improvements. These will considerably reduce the impact of major flood events on nearby homes, businesses and community assets like buildings, roads and footpaths.

The project includes:
• 100m earthen and concrete levee at Central Cabins and Van Park in Castlemaine
• 430m earthen and concrete levee at Elizabeth Street in Castlemaine
• 580m earthen and concrete levee at Campbells Creek township
• 50m earthen levee at National School Lane in Campbells Creek
• Waterway improvements downstream of Alexandra Bridge in Campbells Creek.

GHD carried out flood modelling and other work to identify the best locations for the levees and waterway activities. Council endorsed preliminary designs for these levees and the waterway improvement activities following community consultation in 2016 and 2017. Council did not obtain community support for the two levees recommended along Gingell Street. Therefore, these levees are not included in this project and Council will manage them separately. There is currently no timeline for this work.

Where we are now

We are in the Development phase of this project. Within this phase we will finalise designs and secure all required permits and approvals so the levees can be built.

Please note this phase DOES NOT include construction of the levees. Construction will only begin once all the permits and approvals are obtained, funding has been sourced and the budget is approved by Council.

Phases of the project from Initiation - Develpoment - Delivery - Operation.

The Development phase

During the Development phase we will:
• Finalise design drawings so they are ready to send for tender
• Provide project update information to the community
• Formalise a Cultural Heritage Management Plan and Land User Activity Agreement
• Resolve land encroachment issues, establish easements and acquire land as required
• Obtain planning permit approvals for levee construction
• Update cost assumptions
• Prepare required documentation for Council to consider entering the Delivery phase (construction).

We expect to complete the current Development phase of the project in 2021.

Meet with the project team

If you would like more information about the project read the through our Frequently Asked Questions or see the timeline below.

Due to the restrictions to prevent the spread and infection of coronavirus (COVID-19) Council invites community members to speak with the project team over the phone or through video conference via Zoom (which can be accessed through the internet on PC, or via an app on smart phone. Setting up an account is not necessary).

If you would like to book a time to discuss this project further please contact Jason McClure, Project Officer, on 5471 1835 or or Julie Neilson, Business Support Officer, on 5471 1833 or

Timeline for this project

There has been a long history of flooding along Forest Creek in Castlemaine and Campbells Creek. The levee project aims to reduce the likelihood of flooding and damage to private and public property during extreme rainfall events and flash flooding.

Timeline of this project:

- September and November: Significant rainfall led to flooding in the shire.

- January: Widespread rainfall and flooding occurred across the state. The shire received around five times the average January rainfall over five days which led to major flash flooding. Severe damage occurred to 65 households, 40 farming properties, 11 commercial properties and 10 Council buildings along with considerable damage to footpaths, trails and recreation reserves. Properties were affected at Campbells Creek, Newstead, Yapeen, Chewton, Guildford, Taradale, Metcalfe, Baringhup Caravan Park and Castlemaine (Gingell Street, Bruce Street and Elizabeth Street).
- February: Victorian Government led a Review of the 2010 Flood Warning and Response.
- August: Victoria SES received funding to develop the Mount Alexander Emergency Flood Management Plan.

- February: Further localised high rainfall and flooding occured in the shire. Most of the 157mm rainfall was over two days. This included 81mm in two hours, which was considered to be a one in more than 100 year event. Around 110 properties were affected by flood. The worst affected were properties located at Campbells Creek, Chewton, Maldon, Taradale and Castlemaine (Bruce Street, Berkley Street, Johnston Street, Barker Street, Urquhart Street and Bull Street).
- October: Victorian Government approved a study to undertake the Castlemaine, Campbells Creek and Chewton Flood Management Plan. The North Central Catchment Management Authority (North Central CMA) contracted GHD to develop the plan.
- November: GHD began its review of available data and historic flood information.

- January: North Central CMA released an Expression of Interest seeking community members to join a Planning Steering Committee to guide the development of the Castlemaine, Campbells Creek and Chewton Flood Management Plan.
- GHD continued work throughout 2013 and 2014 on hydrological, hydraulic, flood damage and mitigation option assessments to feed into the flood management plan recommendations.

- March: Community consultation sessions were held in Castlemaine and Campbells Creek to allow feedback on a draft Castlemaine, Campbells Creek and Chewton Flood Management Plan.
- November: Council adopted recommendations of the Flood Management Plan. The plan included the development of an Urban Waterways Management Plan, an amendment to the Mount Alexander Shire Planning Scheme with updated flood maps, assessment of flood warning system improvements, and construction of levees and waterway improvements (this project).

- March: Council awarded the contract for Investigation and Design of Flood Mitigation Treatments to Cardno Victoria Pty Ltd following a competitive tender process.
- April to May: Cardno began geotechnical investigation site works.
- July and November: Community consultation was held with Gingell Street residents about levee design.

- March: Council received a draft landscape plan for proposed waterway improvement works downstream of Alexandra Street Bridge at Campbells Creek.
- June: Cardno issued conceptual levee design drawings for public consultation. Community drop-in sessions were held to discuss the proposed designs for Castlemaine and Campbells Creek.

- February: Council endorsed conceptual designs for Central Cabin and Van Park, Elizabeth Street, Campbells Creek Township and National School Lane levees, along with waterway improvement activity downstream of the Alexandra Street Bridge in Campbells Creek. Council endorsed the need for further community consultation and design for levees along north and south of Gingell Street in Castlemaine. Council endorsed the Newstead levee as part of a separate design contract.
- October: Council adopted the C082 planning amendment to manage flood risk and the Castlemaine Urban Waterways Management Plan at its Ordinary Meeting of Council.

- March: The Minister for Planning approved an amendment (C082) to the Mount Alexander Planning Scheme. The amendment incorporated new flood mapping boundaries and planning overlays in flood prone areas in Castlemaine, Campbells Creek and Chewton.
- April: A funding agreement was approved between Council and the Department of Environment Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to gain permits and approvals to prepare for construction of levee banks and waterway improvements.
- August: Council began work to prepare the project for construction (the Development phase).

- January: The project team commenced work to liaise and engage with local businesses, residents and relevant stakeholders to update them on the current phase of the project.

More information

Council has prepared a list of frequently asked questions about this project. We will regularly update this page so please contact us if there is information you would like to have included.

Key documents

Frequently asked questions
Map of levees
Information sheet

Key documents: Plans and reports
Flood Management Plan (2015)
Victorian Government review of the 2010-2011 flood warnings and response report
Victorian Government review into Flood Mitigation Infrastructure in the state.

Key documents: Preliminary levee designs
Castlemaine Central Cabin and Van Park Levee
Elizabeth Street Levee
Campbells Creek Township Levee
National School Lane Levee.

Key documents: About local floods

• Deanna Neville’s book Too Much Water featuring interviews and photos
SES flood information guide (2017) for Castlemaine and Campbells Creek (pdf, 5.5MB).

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