Palm Bay Re­sort

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Peter Car­ruthers­ruthers@whit­sun­day­

EV­ERY year at this time, the co-owner of Palm Bay Re­sort gets “ner­vous”.

A year on from Cy­clone Deb­bie, He­len Scott, from one of the only two is­land re­sorts op­er­at­ing in the Whit­sun­days post-cy­clone, says she is con­stantly check­ing the weather bureau’s cy­clone watch.

“You get very ner­vous at this time of year dur­ing the cy­clone sea­son,” she said.

Palm Bay Re­sort was hit hard by cy­clonic winds reach­ing 260km/h on March 28 last year.

The re­sort re­ceived help in the form of main­land vol­un­teers who an­swered a call for help on Face­book.

The re­sort was open for busi­ness two weeks later.

“It was sheer guts and de­ter­mi­na­tion and blood, sweat and tears,” she said.

“We had to re­place fenc­ing and ten­nis court fenc­ing and ob­vi­ously all the gar­den was down, and I spent $10,000 with the elec­tri­cian be­cause wa­ter got into ev­ery­thing.

“And a lot of gut­ters came down – but we were re­ally lucky struc­turally.”

The his­tory of the re­sort dates back to the 1950s when it faced east with a view of the Whit­sun­day Pas­sage.

The eastern-fac­ing re­sort was wiped out by a cy­clone and it was de­cided to po­si­tion the re­sort on the western and pro­tected side of the is­land.

Sev­en­teen years ago the re­sort was taken over by its cur­rent own­ers and they up­graded all the build­ings to a Cat­e­gory 5 rat­ing in 2005 when Pep­pers took over man­age­ment.

Af­ter Cy­clone Yasi hit in 2011, Pep­pers pulled out and Palm Bay Re­sort was closed for three years.

Since Cy­clone Deb­bie the re­sort is en­joy­ing low va­cancy rates and busi­ness is back to where it was be­fore the cy­clone hit last year.

The forced hia­tus of Day­dream Is­land and Hay­man Is­lands in the cy­clone’s af­ter­math has im­proved vis­i­ta­tion to the is­land, with Hamil­ton Is­land the Palm Bay Re­sort’s only com­pe­ti­tion.

One year on from Cy­clone Deb­bie, Ms Scott said a much bet­ter cy­clone plan was now in place.

“(How­ever) it’s very fresh in your mind how it all went, even now on the one-year an­niver­sary.

“The af­ter­math was hor­rific ... and you do get ner­vous in the back of your mind and you won­der what would hap­pen if an­other one came through and how you would pick your­self back up again.

“It was a mas­sive ef­fort to get go­ing again. We have got a small team but we all pulled to­gether and did all the phys­i­cal labour to clean it all up,” Ms Scott said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.