Big clean-up causes headaches as costs surge to­wards $60m

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - ANNE MATHER


e had es­ti­mated 500 tonnes of de­bris, but it looks closer to 1000. HO­BART LORD MAYOR RON CHRISTIE

THOUGH the flood­wa­ters have sub­sided, pock­ets of de­struc­tion re­main.

More than two weeks have passed since the cat­a­strophic floods that tore through South­ern Tas­ma­nia.

More than a dozen fam­i­lies re­main in temporary ac­com­mo­da­tion, un­able to live in their flood-dam­aged homes, and many busi­nesses re­main closed.

The col­lapsed river banks, land­slips, fallen trees and ripped bridges also re­main — push­ing the com­bined pub­lic and pri­vate dam­age bill to near $60 mil­lion.

The mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of King­bor­ough and Ho­bart were hit hard­est by the del­uge of May 10-11, and both coun­cils say the re­pair work will take months.

Ho­bart Lord Mayor Ron Christie said the dam­age bill keeps grow­ing, as in­spec­tors and en­gi­neers in­ves­ti­gate more sites.

Early last week Ald Christie es­ti­mated 500 tonnes of trees, rocks and rub­ble needed clear­ing from the Ho­bart Rivulet, but an in­spec­tion on Fri­day re­vealed the vol­ume is almost dou­ble that.

“We had es­ti­mated 500 tonnes of de­bris, but it looks closer to 1000,” he said.

There is more than half a me­tre of silt and rub­ble in a sec­tion of the rivulet tun­nel sys­tem near Camp­bell St. The de­bris in­cludes large boul­ders and pieces of con­crete that have washed down, bear­ing tes­ta­ment to the force of the water.

Ald Christie said the Ho­bart dam­age bill was now closer to $25 mil­lion, with the re­pair list in­clud­ing the South Ho­bart tip, washed-out bush tracks, New Town Rivulet, Ho­bart Rivulet, roads and gut­ters.

South of Ho­bart, the King­bor­ough Coun­cil is also still as­sess­ing the dam­age — which it es­ti­mates will be in ex­cess of $2 mil­lion to coun­cil in­fra­struc­ture.

King­bor­ough’s en­gi­neer­ing ex­ec­u­tive man­ager David Reeve said work crews were fo­cused on clear­ing de­bris from stormwa­ter drains in case more down­pours come.

“We will be do­ing the clean-up for months,” Mr Reeve said.

The ar­eas that re­ceived the most sig­nif­i­cant dam­age were Huon Rd, the Red­wood Vil­lage dam, White­wa­ter Creek, the Trial Bay jetty and the Kingston Beach break­wa­ter. There has also been ex­ten­sive dam­age to bridges, foot­paths and roads across Kingston.

Mr Reeve said the Kingston Beach pon­toon, which broke from its moor­ing, would not be fixed un­til spring and the path along White­wa­ter Creek would be closed for months.

He said the dam­age to the nat­u­ral veg­e­ta­tion along White­wa­ter Creek, in­clud­ing col­lapsed creek banks and fallen trees, would take much longer to re­cover. The track is cov­ered with not only fallen branches and boul­ders, but bro­ken fences, roof­ing ma­te­rial and other house­hold de­bris.

To add to the headache for King­bor­ough Coun­cil, its own Civic Cen­tre also suf­fered flood dam­age and will take sev­eral more weeks to re­pair.

“At least half of the bot­tom floor of the Civic Cen­tre flooded, ru­in­ing car­pets and desks,” Mr Reeve said.

About three quar­ters of the staff that work in the Civic Cen­tre have been re­lo­cated to temporary ac­com­mo­da­tion in the coun­cil cham­bers and the King­bor­ough Fam­ily Day Care of­fices.

Mr Reeve said the coun­cil would need to ap­ply for Dis­as­ter Re­lief Fund­ing, and would also seek as­sis­tance from the State Gov­ern­ment.

Chan­nel Court shop­ping cen­tre at Kingston also suf­fered dam­age, with about a dozen stores on the Wool­worths level badly af­fected by water.

While Wool­worths and Big W are back trad­ing, a sig­nif­i­cant amount of work is still re­quired at sev­eral stores be­fore they can re­open.

It will be a long time be­fore the Brook­field restau­rant and func­tion cen­tre at Mar­gate re­opens, but owner Ju­lia Ridgers said the com­mu­nity had ral­lied to sup­port her through the clean-up.

“We’ve had lo­cals and reg­u­lar cus­tomers come in ev­ery day to help clean up with us,” Ms Ridgers said.

“Brook­field is ev­ery­thing to me but now I un­der­stand how much it means to other peo­ple,” she said.

The build­ing was badly dam­aged when a wall of water hit it dur­ing the floods, sub­merg­ing the ground floor.

An­other busi­ness that will re­main closed for a long time is Retro Steel Fur­ni­ture in South Ho­bart.

Owner Ja­son Haas, a sheet metal worker by trade, had cre­ated a stu­dio of artis­tic fur­ni­ture pieces that he had ei­ther cre­ated or re­stored.

“The fur­ni­ture was all ru­ined. All that sur­vived was some of the steel fur­ni­ture and that is full of mud.”

He said it had taken a cou­ple of years to cre­ate the col-

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