Bat­tle far from over for flood-hit busi­nesses

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - SU­SAN OONG

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.”

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