CLOSE TO 70 flood-affected families took another step towards recovery on Saturday with the first ballot cast for their preferred allotments at the new housing estate to be built in Grantham.
Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said the ballot was an important event for the rebuilding of the town of Grantham and the lives of the residents.
“Overall, we expect 85-95% of flood affected residents to move up to the new development,” he said.
“We believe that some of the residents may be in their homes by Christmas.”
Cr Jones said the program was proving to be a step in the right direction for the devastated town.
“I think without the land swap, Grantham would be like a lot of other communities that have been affected by disaster,” he said.
“Millions are spent on rebuilding and recovering, but still with that chance this could happen again.
“The key to the success of the Strengthening Grantham Development is that it has always been a voluntary land swap.
“When the plans for the land swap were first put into place, we knew if it was done well, it would really help people.”
Grantham resident Teresa Hook, whose home was significantly damaged in the floods in January, said the attitude from residents towards the ballot was positive.
“Our house is still standing on William Street in Grantham and we will move it to the new block when we know which one it will be,” she said.
“We have three children, aged 11, six and three and we are looking forward to finding out which block we will get in a couple of weeks.”
Mrs Hook thought the ballot system was the fairest way to allocate the land, but still had concerns about her own preferences.
“It’s a bit like gambling really,” she said.
“There are good blocks that you really do want and some that you wouldn’t want.
“Everyone is going to want the good blocks and someone has to get the others.”
Property consulting firm Urbis was engaged by council to oversee the ballot which is set to be drawn next week.
Urbis Director Malcolm Aikman said the ballot was a complicated process, but ultimately was the fairest way to decide who was allocated each block in the 90-block site.
“The ballot is about equity and fairness and giving people the opportunity to put their preference down next to every block,” he said.
“A computer program then runs the information through and across the information from the ballots, residents are allocated a block.
“A number of people will get their first preferences and in our testing the ideal results that we’ve found is that people get better than half of their first preference.
“So if there are 20 blocks that they are putting preferences for, the worst one they should end up with is maybe their tenth preference.”
With some ballots still to come in through the post, Mr Aikman said he hoped to be able to give residents and landowners contracts for their blocks in two weeks.
“From there it could be six weeks or so before everything is settled and after that, building can start,” he said.
“To have gone from a disaster in early January to getting people new blocks in August is a great effort.”
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