Beaches starts to re-build
Debbie no match for staff
ENTERING Beaches Backpackers after Tropical Cyclone Debbie tore through the Whitsundays, manager Kim Davies was met with a sight she would have never expected.
“It was very emotional and very emotional for our staff,” Ms Davies said.
The accomodation and popular watering hole was torn apart by Debbie, with shade sails ripped off and flood waters damaging 35 rooms and mud affecting another 10.
Mattresses had been moved off beds and doors flung open due to the sheer force of winds.
Ms Davies had just returned from Melbourne when she quickly had to evacuate 220 guests after learning the venue was in the yellow evacuation zone.
“In the pouring rain we were sending them to Down Under Bar and Backpackers by the Bay,” she said.
“It was actually really stressful for my staff because they’d been dealing with backpackers all day who were getting anxious and nervous and had constant questions.”
With Debbie’s expected force growing rapidly, Ms Davies said her main concern was getting the building secured.
“We taped up windows and we made sure everyone had their own stuff and if they didn’t we needed to lock it up for them,” she said.
“I had no idea (the cyclone) was going to be that bad and that long.”
During the eye of the storm Ms Davies decided to return to assess the damage and discovered it wasn’t just Debbie that had come in uninvited.
“My windows were smashed in the front and I had looters here either before or after I’d been,” she said.
“They got into the bar and were very selective. They took Coronas, Vodka Double Blacks and a lot of my spirits.”
Thankfully no money was taken.
Ms Davies said her staff had been “incredible” during the whole ordeal and had gone above and beyond to get the popular venue back to its original state.
On Saturday night
HIGH SPIRITS: Despite the damage and chaos, the team at Beaches are working hard to get the venue back to where it used to be.
LEFT: Kim Davies and Lachlan Queenan inside one of the rooms at Beaches.