Beaches starts to re-build

Deb­bie no match for staff

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Inge Hansen inge.hansen@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

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

PHO­TOS: INGE HANSEN

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.

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