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Byron Shire
July 6, 2022

Receding floodwaters means RVC’s cleanup can begin

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Broadwater is one of the RVC areas to be inundated with floodwaters. Photo supplied.

Richmond Valley is one of the Northern Rivers areas to be devastated by last week’s flood event and Council says that now that floodwaters have started to recede the clean-up can begin.

A coordinated clean-up effort is underway across the Valley, which includes street cleaning, free kerbside pickups, skip bins for shopping precincts, and the waiving of landfill fees for flood-affected goods. We would like to acknowledge our local contractors who jumped straight into action to assist us with the cleanup. 

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald thanked the agencies and support services involved in what has been the largest-scale emergency response the Richmond Valley has ever experienced. 

A massive multi-agency effort

Mr Macdonald said the emergency response to this disaster had been a massive multi-agency effort, including NSW Police, the RFS, SES, Fire and Rescue NSW, VRA, NSW Ambulance, Australian Defence Force and Richmond Valley Council. 

‘The task ahead is a huge one, but significant achievements to restore vital infrastructure had already been made, including to key transport routes.

‘Council will work with Federal and State agencies to clean up flood-damaged properties, and provide support to those affected,’ said Mr Macdonald. 

‘I acknowledged the significant and coordinated multi-agency emergency response deployed over the past week to assist our communities led by the NSW Police.

‘All emergency services, Council, government support agencies, many volunteer groups and non-government organisations came together, around the clock, to help our community during this tough time.

A long haul ahead

Naughton’s Gap. Photo supplied.

‘It’s a long haul ahead, as the recovery process has only just started, so we need to stay on task for our communities who need us.’

Mr Macdonald said as communities recovered, various types of assistance remained available. He urged those affected by flood to seek assistance from relevant agencies tasked to assist the recovery.

Council’s website has up-to-date information and contact details for disaster welfare assistance, insurance, disaster relief for farmers, housing assistance and mental health care, and more.

‘A one-stop Recovery Centre will be set up in the Casino Community and Cultural Centre once there is better access for the staff needed to operate these centres,’ said Mr Macdonald. 

‘The aim is to have it open mid-next week, with another to be set up in Evans Head next week.

Resilience NSW

‘We will work closely with the Resilience NSW team and support agencies to assess whether these centres may need to move into Coraki, Woodburn and/or Broadwater as the waters recede and the scale of impact and the community’s needs becomes clear in these communities.’

Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow said the primary focus would remain on supporting residents’ safety and well-being as the significant clean-up process began.

Cr Mustow said the damage from this unprecedented flood was a devastating loss for the community, and it would take an enormous amount of effort, commitment and support for those affected to rebuild their lives.

He said Council and the wider community would be there every step of the way to support the individuals and families impacted by this disaster.

A very emotional time

‘This is a very emotional time for so many in our community. Our strength and resilience, characteristics that have been sorely tested over the past few years, are again shining through as we begin the mammoth clean-up and recovery effort.

‘It is a huge task, but the way the community has pulled together over the past week to support one another has been inspirational.

‘I would like to thank our SES and RFS members, local police and emergency service personnel, volunteers and community organisations and Council staff for their hard work and assistance in protecting and supporting our local communities.’ 

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