RAISED UP: North Lismore resident, Debbie Childs had her house raised through the voluntary house raising scheme.
RAISED UP: North Lismore resident, Debbie Childs had her house raised through the voluntary house raising scheme. Claudia Jambor

Beloved home is safe despite being in high-risk flood area

WHEN Debbie Childs evacuated her home during the March flood, she looked back at her beloved house and breathed a sigh of relief.

Living in a high risk flood area, past major rain events had the resident of 24 years on alert and ready to move to higher ground.

This flood, she left feeling assured her Pine Street would be safe.

"I packed up a few things and went down the stairs and thought 'thank god I don't have to worry about it flooding,'” Ms Childs said.

In December last year, Ms Childs had her house raised about a metre higher than one-in-100 year flood level of 12.11m.

She was one of three homeowners selected for the Voluntary House Raising scheme when the grant secured in the 2013/14 financial year.

Funded by the NSW Government and administered by Rous County Council, two thirds of the project is paid by state and local government with the homeowner the remaining third of the cost.

Under the scheme, eligible homeowners must live in high flood risk areas that have floor levels below a one-in-20-year flood level as stipulated by the Lismore Floodplain Risk Management plan.

For Ms Childs, she said the one-off investment to elevate her home could have equated to her damage bill from the March floods.

"(The flood water) would have come in about a metre and I would have lost everything,” she said.

Ms Childs said the investment also proved the more affordable option than taking out years flood insurance, which she said is unaffordable for most in North Lismore.

After the flood, Ms Childs said the March floods has heightened anxiety around the community with many showing interest in applying for the scheme.

Demand for the scheme has spiked, the council received 30 expressions of interest of the 49 homeowners identified as living in Lismore's high flood risk areas.

Of that number, three homeowners were selected to have their house raised as a result of the most recent grant allocation. The council's acting general manager Guy Bezrouchko said he aimed to have all three homes off the ground in the next six months.

Mr Bezrouchko said the council has worked on a new grant submission for the 2018/19 grant year that sought to create a long-term house raising plan to to meet the large demand.