Cyclone Oswald Part 2 Aftermath
Fast forward 96 days.
It started again, torrential downpours and low pressure systems. On the Esplanade, council had just built a new turn around bay for the garbage trucks when they changed contractors over to the current contractors as their trucks could not get it. That combined with a new house being built at the end of the street were the precipice of further disaster. The rains came down and the water came up. Where the water would previously drain along a natural water way parallel to the beach, the waterway was not blocked by a new house and turnaround bay. So on the Esplanade the water just kept coming up. Water started creeping into houses along the Esplanade and one house’s downstairs areas (mine) was soon covered by over a foot of fast flowing water. Bedrooms were destroyed, beds bedding personal items, all with no chance of rescue before the fast advancing waters took over and flooded everything.
Just as we thought it couldn’t get any worse, Toogoom’s sewerage system failed, the boxes all had red lights on them due to flooding. At three am my husband and myself were outside in the pouring rain manning pumps with raw sewerage spewing out of the ground and pipes and hitting us in the face.
Rolf Light came out and spoke to us residents on the Esplanade who were trapped by the water and living in terrible conditions. Rumours of ross river fever became rampant in the area.
The council sent pumps out to the Esplanade and started pumping the water out to the sea. Up to that point council said their hands were tied as the area between the water flood and the sea was “fish habitat” and under a marine conservation order by the state government so no dumping of water.
There were only two houses in Toogoom that flooded badly, mine on the Esplanade and one other. At the time of Cyclone Oswald council told us there was no funding to fix the drainage up in the area and none in the planning budget over the next years. In 2015 a small amount of funding was used on drainage and once again in 2017.
Rolf Light’s hands were tied but he still set aside around $80000 of his own councillor discretionary funds to fix drainage in toogoom on O’Regans Creek Road.