Tweed mayor Katie Milne has praised council staff for its ‘highly coordinated operation,’ following the recent floods, ‘particularly given the size, scale and impact of the event.’
But while council returns to business as usual, mayor Milne acknowledges there is much more to be done in repairing the shire’s infrastructure, helping locals made homeless or jobless by the floods and planning for similar events in the future.
‘Council is still working its way through the recovery phase of the recent floods and is yet to have a full debrief with all agencies and internal council departments,’ Cr Milne said.
‘In time we will have a full debrief, however, right now our immediate focus continues to be on emergency restorations. There are always lessons from floods – be they large or small – that we can take and apply to respond better to future events,’ she added.
Mayor Milne said council is aware of more than 100 people who have been made homeless by the floods.
‘While council takes an active role wherever possible, homelessness and the provision of services are the primary responsibility of the state government and we are working closely with them to identify and refer details of people impacted,’ she said.
‘Council has taken significant measures to support community members displaced during and after the flood event, most significantly funding staff resources at the Flood Recovery Centre.’
Council staff have also evaluated some 20 properties damaged in the floods, she added.
More than 1,000 people have so far made use of the Recovery Centre in Murwillumbah, which will remain open (except Anzac Day and Sundays) while there remains a demand.
Tweed Council has identified 1,200 incidences of road damage caused by the flood.
The estimated damages bill to date is approaching $20 million.
Last week council crews and contractors were working on priority landslips and washouts on roads including: Tyalgum Creek, Lone Pine, Rowlands Creek, Hopkins Creek, Urliup, Numinbah, Glencoe, Nobbys Creek and Kyogle roads and Tweed Valley Way.
By the end of the week they’re expected to also have started work on bypassing the missing section of Manns Road; fixing the scours and table drains of Commissioners Creek Road; removing large tree debris from Byrrill Creek and Upper Burringbar roads to allow the rubbish truck access; removing silt from Tweed Valley Way and Kyogle Road; and, unblocking a causeway on Urliup Road.
Temporary traffic lights have been placed on a section of Clothiers Creek Road reduced to one lane by a landslip in the 1 April flood.
The section, between Farrants Road and Norths Lane, also has been placed under a 4.5-tonne vehicle weight limit
The mayor says the council tip has taken 13,000 tonnes of flood waste and debris (and still increasing) from across the Tweed.
‘To put this in perspective, we usually take 1,500 tonne in one of the household clean-ups: we have taken nearly nine times more to our landfill.
Council and community response
‘Our response to this flood has been a highly coordinated operation, particularly given the size, scale and impact of the event,’ Cr Milne said.
‘As a community we can be proud of how well we pulled together and supported each other. There are so many examples of business helping business, stranger helping stranger that demonstrate hope, determination, mateship and resilience of our community.
‘As for council staff and operations, I am really proud of our workforce who worked tirelessly from the start to restore critical services, establish recovery centres and get the Tweed back on its feet.
‘Our staff are local and live here too, with many of them impacted personally, yet they still went above and beyond. There are some great examples of teamwork and positive organisational culture that I am happy to be a part of,’ mayor Milne said.