Most people love to hear the sound of rain falling but for residents in one tight-knit pocket of Rocklea the sound sends anxiety levels soaring and brings on panic attacks.
Mental anguish that according to one local resident has already resulted in the loss of two lives following the floods earlier this year.
DJ Jones was one of a crowd of locals who attended Wednesday’s community meeting on the bridge spanning Stable Swamp Creek where they appealed to Brisbane City Council to carry out flood mitigation work.
“I know of two people who we have lost to suicide since the February floods,” DJ said.
“One man blamed himself for not getting his family’s possessions up high enough quickly enough when it flooded.”
“He didn’t know how high it was going to go.”
“People are not going to cope with another one. We are going to lose more people.”
“Every time it rains people’s anxiety levels go up. I am fearful that we are going to lose more people to suicide.”
“Something has to change because it’s been getting worse over the years.”
“I know everywhere is getting worse. Oxley went under in February as well. It went under twice.”
DJ said weather alerts were also adding to mental health pressures.
“Everyone here is getting 7 or 8 messages and emails and I didn’t sign up for it.”
“If there is a storm at Toowoomba or out back of Gatton, I don’t need to know that right now. Unless you’re telling me there is a wall of water coming towards me.”
“It raises my panic levels. It worries me when there is nothing for us to be concerned about.”
“If that’s happening to me it’s happening to a lot of people in this area.”
“We want the creek cleared out, widened so the water flows freely when it does rain.”
“We just want to know that someone is going to help us because some people just can’t go on like this.”
Local mum Lilly Guildford said people started to panic when it rained.
“The people just want something done to help them.”
“People are scared when it rains. People start to pack up their homes. People shouldn’t have to live like that.”
Local man Alan Clark Jones said he was on was on Lord Mayor’s taskforce in 2004.
“There was a five-point plan but only three of those things were done. Flood mitigation work hasn’t been done,” he said.”
“He said too much land had been built on in surrounding areas which funnelled the water through the area via concrete channels and drains on the other side of Beaudesert Road.
“I think it’s about 17km all up and then all that water ends up here and it backs up.”
Councillor for Moorooka Ward Steve Griffiths said over the past four years Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner had consistently failed to allocate funding in his annual Budget for creek and waterway maintenance in Rocklea.
“One side of the creek was cleared out in 2017 – what they did was widen it and they took out the coral (weed) trees and replaced them with native trees which helps with water flow so we were able to keep the wildlife.”
“So this side flows fairly well – but now it’s five years on and the other side hasn’t been touched.”
“So we need to do the same on the other side of the bridge and go further up Oxley Creek.”
“The Mayor can spend $650m on Kingsford Smith Drive, $1.7bn on Brisbane Metro, $67m on a pedestrian bridge across Breakfast Creek and $190m on Kangaroo Point Bridge but not the money to help clear the creek.”
“Just another example of people in the suburbs missing out to inner-city projects and the people of Rocklea and who knows how many other places in Brisbane are sick of it.”
Council officers who attended the community meeting said the area had been identified and it had been listed as a priority but depended on funding from next year’s Council Budget.
The officers said they would also get in contact with the State Government about flood mitigation work on the other side of the bridge.