Maribyrnong locals fume as flood wall stops waters reaching racecourse

The Victoria Racing Club is coming under fire from angry Maribyrnong residents who are concerned about the impact of the flood wall the VRC built in 2007.

Former VRC chief executive and chairman of Harness Racing Victoria Dale Monteith took to social media to praise the flood wall on Friday, posting “then and now” pictures of previous flooding at the racetrack.

“Took five years with process and build,” he posted. “Pretty happy that we have left a legacy for future of Flemington. Was always going to happen but ignored previously.”

The tweet has since been deleted.

Flemington Racecourse submerged by floodwaters in 1974.Credit:The Age Archives

Local residents and social media users were quick to voice their disapproval.

“Are you … actually bragging about building a wall that is currently redirecting flood water away from a natural flood plain and onto/into people’s streets and homes,” Abigail Lewis posted.

“Just like the residents you steamrolled at the time warned you it would?”

James Hutcheon posted: “Ah yeah as a resident of the area it’s so fantastic that the racecourse is fine while all the local roads are under a metre of water.”

In 2004, Melbourne, Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley councils warned the state government building the flood wall could cause houses near Flemington racetrack to be flooded.

Approving the project, then planning minister Mary Delahunty said: “The flood protection works and racetrack upgrade will ensure that major horse racing events at Flemington, such as the Cup or the Victoria Derby, cannot be affected by major flooding of the Maribyrnong River.”

However, Maribyrnong councillor Bill Horrocks warned of the future impact on residents.

“So when the inevitable happens and our community is knee-deep in water, we hope the minister is ready to take the heat,” he said at the time.

The VRC declined to comment.

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