AFTER years of pleading by residents, West Gippsland may yet get flood protection measures.
Cardinia Council and Melbourne Water last week announced an $11.8 million reconstruction of the Bunyip Main Drain was on track to be completed in March.
The flood protection works, which include raising the southern levee bank and reducing the slope of the bank, are designed to reduce the risk of water overflowing into nearby properties during heavy rain.
"The upgrade is one of several projects being delivered by Melbourne Water in the Cardinia Shire to reduce the impact of flooding to farms and properties," a Cardinia Council spokeswoman said.
Growers aren't so optimistic.
Cora Lynn potato grower and Food Bowl Committee spokesman Wayne Tymenson said the works should have been completed in 2006. "I'm not sure what to believe any more," he said. "In 2001 they allocated $20 million to redo the entire network by 2010, but now it's 2013 and it'll cost $11.8 million to fix one section. In the last six years nothing has happened and this is only the start."
Mr Tymenson lost 70 per cent of his crop when the area flooded in June last year.
"The big problem is the carrier drains which affect the water running through the area," Mr Tymenson said.
"And that won't resolve until they fix the catchment at Dalmore, but they seem to have hit funding and environmental barriers."
Melbourne Water waterways manager (South-East) Rod Clifford said the works had been managed to protect populations of the threatened Southern Brown Bandicoot, which use the Main Drain to move through the area. He said re-alignment of the Main Drain Road between 11 and 13 Mile Roads was complete.
"All up we are rebuilding four kilometres of the southern levee bank so it can handle larger volumes of floodwater during heavy rain," Mr Clifford said.