Lenthalls Dam gates pose a risk to hundreds: MP Anne Maddern

MARYBOROUGH MP Anne Maddern has called for an urgent review of the malfunctioning Lenthalls Dam gates, which she says have put hundreds of people at increased risk during recent flood events.

A design flaw in the gates, which causes them to open and close spontaneously, was one of the serious concerns raised at the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry after the 2011 floods.

The problem was initially identified in 2008, but Wide Bay Water is still battling to find a solution - with more than 270 people downstream from the dam left vulnerable by the broken equipment.

Mrs Maddern said she felt the safety concerns of the community had not been resolved despite the Queensland Flood Commission finalising a report on the issue in 2012.

"The failure of the gates to operate as designed in the recent floods in 2011-12 and 2013 has left the community feeling vulnerable and uneasy as to their safety," Ms Maddern said.

"I am requesting that the Dam Safety Regulator review this matter with a view to setting a definite time frame for the rectification of the dam gates to ensure the safety for residents both upstream and downstream."

Ms Maddern sent this request to Mark McArdle, Minister for Energy and Water Supply.

"I believe that the community needs some certainty on this issue which has been on going for a long time," she said.

The gates were installed to raise the level of Lenthalls Dam by 2m and at the official opening in 2008, they were hailed as Australia's first crest gate system - only for problems to emerge later that year.

The Flood Commission recommended no action be taken against Wide Bay Water at the time and ruled there was little danger of the dam collapsing even if the gates did not operate perfectly.

Due to ongoing uncertainty regarding the status of Wide Bay Water, it is unknown whether the Fraser Coast Regional Council or Wide Bay Water is now responsible for the dam.

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