Ex­ten­sive clean-up un­der way

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Peter Car­ruthers peter.car­ruthers@news­re­gional­me­dia. com.au

FROM the sum­mit of a moun­tain made of de­stroyed be­long­ings at Wil­sons Beach, a ma­roon flag flies in the breeze.

It says “Go Queens­land”. Whit­sun­day Mayor Andrew Will­cox, dur­ing a tour of the waste­land cre­ated by Cy­clone Deb­bie, said the ar­eas of Con­way and Wil­sons beaches had been the hard­est hit by the cat­e­gory four trop­i­cal storm.

Ron Hurst stands out the front of his Wil­sons Beach Rd home.

His bare feet look like they have been in the bath for a week and he is sur­rounded by the ru­ined con­tents of the down­stairs sec­tion of his house.

Mr Hurst has lived in Wil­sons Beach for more than 30 years and has ex­pe­ri­enced many cy­clones.

“But nor­mally we only have 150kmh (winds) but this time we had 270kmh (winds) and it sat on us for 11 hours,” he said.

“It tore us to pieces. “The wa­ter came over here and flooded un­der­neath my house. And in that shed I have benches in there at 800mm high and it came up to the top of them.

“It tipped ev­ery­thing up­side down, it’s just a big mess.”

Mr Hurst said he had lost a lot of his ma­chin­ery and his daugh­ter had lost a Lego col­lec­tion worth thou­sands of dol­lars.

He is not alone. Ev­ery house in Wil­sons Beach and many at Con­way Beach have turned out hun­dreds of tonnes of pos­ses­sions de­stroyed by the wa­ter and the wind.

The 3rd Com­bat Engi­neer­ing Reg­i­ment of the Aus­tralian Army is on the ground in the area clear­ing felled trees and re­spond­ing to a com­mu­nity in des­per­ate need.

“We took care of all the tree felling at Con­way Beach and now have the con­trac­tors in (re­mov­ing rub­ble piles with a claw and dump trucks),” an en­lis­tee said.

He said the com­mu­nity had greeted his men with


BIG JOB: The 3rd Com­bat Engi­neer­ing Reg­i­ment of the Aus­tralian Army is on the ground help­ing clear Wil­sons and Con­way beaches. RIGHT: Lester Young from Wil­sons Beach helps with the beach clean-up.

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