Flooded by the rails

Landlord Barry Pitcher and MP Brad Battin inspect the area at the rear of the businesses that is flooding. 187144_01

By Rowan Forster

The Level Crossing Removal Authority has been flooded with complaints from aggrieved business owners in Berwick amid allegations properties are becoming inundated by stormwater due to botched upgrades.

Landlords of Enterprise Avenue have reached boiling point – fearful labourers and construction workers could be rendered jobless if the issue persists.

The Gazette understands the problem arose when the State Government began construction at the Clyde Road crossing more than 12 months ago.

As the railway line has been elevated, water no longer flows into the natural drainage system and instead gushes towards the rear of the Berwick properties.

Despite pressuring bureaucrats for more than a year, Barry Pitcher has not received any answers.

Mr Pitcher, who leases 36 Enterprise Avenue to a small trades business, fears his tenant’s company could collapse due to the flooding.

“It could put this guy out of business,” he said.

“He’s got obligations and there is a lot of expensive equipment that will be destroyed.

“It has already dealt structural damage to the property.

“My drain isn’t going to handle the flow in a heavy rain and it could come through the back door and ruin everything.”

He is one of many concerned about constant flooding along the strip.

Last year, the neighbouring swim school reportedly flooded to such an extent that water reached ankle-height inside the building.

Mr Pitcher said the lack of consultation from the LCRA was profoundly insulting.

“For a year I’ve been phoning them, wanting to know what’s happening, and I’m repeatedly told they don’t have answers for me,” he said.

“It’s a problem caused by water run-off and we can’t get any assistance from anyone whatsoever.

“It’s eating away at me, the fact I can’t get any answers.

“It’s stressful on me, it’s stressful on my tenant and it is unnecessary.”

In correspondence seen by the Gazette, the issue has been escalated to the General Manager of the LCRA and Metro Trains.

However, a resolution has not yet been reached.

In August, a dance studio on Enterprise Avenue was also flooded.

Gembrook MP Brad Battin said his office has written to the Minister and the LCRA on behalf of multiple businesses, but they are yet to receive a reply.

He said the authority’s fix is long overdue.

“This has been ongoing since the level crossing removals here,” he said.

“There were no floods, no issues with water until they re-engineered out the back.

“They need to come back and fix it – it is as simple as that.” 

LCRA has been contacted for comment.