Floods cost region well over $8m
SOMERSET has been left reeling after around $8 million worth of damage to local roads and bridges from widespread flooding in the past week.
The area was declared a natural disaster zone Wednesday and State Government has activated Commonwealth State-Local Natural Disaster Relief funding arrangements.
Somerset Regional Council Operations Manager, Tony Jacobs, said the figure for damages was based on past experience and what council had seen of the damage so far.
“If the area hadn't been declared a disaster council would have worn the whole cost which obviously would have caused some severe financial hardship,” he said
“Council has to pay for the initial amount, and once it reaches a trigger point, which is close to $200,000, the expenditure above that limit is covered by the disaster funding.
“We have two years to do those repairs.”
He said the estimated cost of damage was approximate.
“When we estimated that figure there were still a lot of areas we were unable to access,” he said
“Since then we have found there is a lot of major damage to a number of bridges, road pavement and gravel sheeting on unsealed roads.
“We are currently undertaking emergency repairs to deal with the worst of the situation of the roads so we can get access for people.”
Mr Jacobs said the repairs will take some time.
“It will be almost two years before we are back to where we were before the floods,” he said
“This time it covered the whole region, from north at Kilcoy all the way right down to the south at Minden.”
Mr Jacobs said council will learn from the experience.
“I think there will be some learning from this and we will be prepared for next time,” he said
“There are always improvements to be made.”
Somerset Regional Mayor, Graeme Lehmann, said there were some complications brought on by the flooding.
“We did have an emergency situation where someone was cut off by the flood waters and they had a medical condition.
“This was resolved Wednesday afternoon when he was picked up by a CareFlight.”
He said water was over Burtons Bridge last week cutting off residents on E Summerville Road near Fernvale.
“We had some people from council find out what the people needed and went to Woolworths and brought it to them, so they had some supplies for a while.”
He said council is grateful for the activation of the Commonwealth State-Local Natural Disaster Relief funding arrangements for the massive repair task.