Learning from Larry
IF another cyclone heads Innisfail’s way in 2007 Woolworths and Coles will open along with IGA.
On March 19 this year with Cyclone Larry making a bee-line for Innisfail, only the IGA which normally trades on Sunday was open. Its shelves were stripped bare by panicky buyers by noon.
Woolworths and Coles, which are not legally entitled to open on Sundays, remained closed, their shelves groaning under the weight of food and essentials.
‘‘If there is another cyclone Woolworths and Coles will open as well. It’s against the law for them to open, but we’ll just do it,’’ Johnstone Shire Mayor Neil Clarke said.
He said that under a new cyclone battle plan major retailers, service stations and gas outlets would remain open. He said allowing people to stock up with food and fuel would help reduce the hardship that existed after Larry.
‘‘With the power cut none of the electrical bowsers worked. A lot of people had no food and there long queues for fuel at the only mechanical bowser in town,’’ he said.
Cr Clarke said council commandeered a service station in the town after the cyclone in order to guarantee fuel for council and emergency service vehicles.
He said all fuel bought in the days after the cyclone by council staff and emergency service personnel including Ergon staff was charged to his personal council fuel card.
‘‘At the end of it my fuel card had $50,000 in fuel on it,’’ he said.
He said the money was reimbursed by the various bodies afterwards.
He said i f a cyclone again approaches the Innisfail coast an emergency situation would be declared once the storm is on course. He said tarpaulins and water would be distributed to outlying areas.
He said the Premier would be asked to enforce earlier evacuations of beachside areas. He said evacuations of vulnerable areas would not be left until only hours before the cyclone was due to hit, as was the case with Larry.
Cr Clarke and economic development officer Peter Kellett said the Feast of the Senses which was scuttled at the 11th, hour on March 19 when people deserted the city centre to prepare their homes for the cyclone, would go ahead as planned in 2007.
The Feast of the Senses, which celebrates Johnstone Shire’s diverse range of produce, will lack its usual array of delicious tropical fruits. Most fruit producers had their crops destroyed in the cyclone, Cr Clarke said.
Cr Neil Clarke