JAMIE Simmonds, the man who directed the relocation of the town of Grantham, will share his story with Lismore when Janelle Saffin MP hosts him during a visit to the city today (Wednesday, 23 November).
Ms Saffin said this was a great opportunity for locals like South Lismore’s Harper Dalton, who established the Relocate Lismore Homes Facebook group, to link with a planning and development expert who nowadays advises disaster-affected communities globally on managed retreat.
“In 2011, Jamie was employed by Lockyer Valley Regional Council to run the Strengthening Grantham Project following devastating flash flooding which took the lives of 19 people,” Ms Saffin said.
“This groundbreaking project created, planned and constructed a new residential estate and provided land through Australia’s first land-swap process. Within 12 months of that flood event, 120 families were moving into their flood-free homes.
“I recently had a zoom meeting with Jamie where we had a good exchange of ideas, so I invited him to share his experience and knowledge with us here.”
Mr Simmonds thanked Ms Saffin and said he was looking forward to meetings she had arranged with Mr Dalton, and with representatives from Resilient Lismore, the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation and Lismore City Council.
He said the relocation of Grantham, spearheaded by the late Lockyer Valley mayor Steve Jones and supported by the Queensland (Queensland Reconstruction Authority included) and Federal governments, is regarded as one of the most successful examples of relocation in the world.
“In 2020, I wrote a book about the experience, Rising from the Flood: Moving the Town of Grantham, and since then, I’ve been a regular media contributor and speaker with national and international audiences, discussing how to effectively plan and implement recovery strategies, including relocation,” Mr Simmonds said.
“I’ve spent time in Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States, including speaking at the National Academy of Science in Washington DC and with the Council on Environmental Quality within the Biden Administration.
“I have shared my story with local communities, media organisations, academic institutions and government agencies from around the world struggling to understand how to rebuild devastated communities in a better way.
“As more severe weather events become more frequent, this experience is becoming increasingly useful to communities and decision-makers as they create a more resilient future.”
Mr Simmonds is a Brisbane-based planning and development expert. He collaborates with specialists in resilience planning, disaster management and risk reduction, climate adaptation and flood engineering in Australia and across the globe. He is also a keen triathlete.
More information can be found on his webpage — www.jamiesimmonds.com
RELOCATE LISMORE HOMES: South Lismore resident Harper Dalton chats with Lismore MP Janelle Saffin and planning and development expert Jamie Simmonds.