Battle far from over for flood-hit businesses
IT has been 31 days since the dramatic flash flood that hit Hobart.
The water has subsided but for some Kingston shop owners, it is a long way from business as usual.
Where once their days were filled with busy day-today errands, most now spend their time filling out insurance forms, chasing repair quotes and waiting.
“We’re just hanging in limbo,” said Diane Roberts, co-owner of News World Nextra at Kingston.
“We’ve just had enough of it. We want to get on with it.”
Ms Roberts’ newsagency is one of a number of businesses on the ground floor of the Channel Court Shopping Centre, which was inundated when a stormwater drain on Freeman St overflowed.
“It’s devastating really. It’s devastating for us, our staff, our community. It’s impacted a lot on our business and the surrounding businesses as well,” she said.
“We’re hoping to be up and running again in late August or early September, but we have to do a lot before then.
“It’s not a fast process. We had to have the building dried out because there’s bacteria in here; there’s contamination. We have to wait until all that’s cleared before we can come back in.”
Like Ms Roberts, Shane McIndoe — the proprietor of Kingston’s Southern Lights Hotel — is waiting on work to be done after damage to his restaurant, function centre, kitchen and hotel rooms. “The biggest hassle is that the carpet had to come from New Zealand because there wasn’t enough in Australia,” Mr McIndoe said.
“Now the carpet layers are flat out and all the contractors are all flat out.
“The insurance company has been really good, but it’s still frustrating. I’m currently working through what it does and doesn’t cover.”
Mr McIndoe’s business employs 16 staff, and most haven’t been able to work while repairs take place.
“I feel for our staff who were affected at home, too,” said Mr McIndoe.
“My head chef is couch surfing at the moment, which upsets me because we really are like one big family.”
Mr McIndoe estimates his insurance bill will climb beyond $100,000 and while he’s hopeful that will cover paying his staff during the clean-up process, he isn’t currently receiving an income himself.
Ms Roberts, too, is taking a personal hit while waiting for her claim to be finalised.
In the interim she hopes to operate a Tatts Lotto stall in front of her existing shopfront, which remains boarded up.
“We’re lucky because we’ve retained our paper run. We still have that.”