Thursday, May 30, 2024

Port Stephens counting cost of ‘heartbreaking’ flood damage

Port Stephens Mayor, Ryan Palmer says the region has suffered millions of dollars worth of damage following a week of heavy rain and flooding.

“Our already soaking grounds across Port Stephens have been hit by heavy rainfall since late last week and the impacts on people’s property, our roads and infrastructure is huge,” Mayor Palmer said.

“We have huge numbers of potholes, damaged roads, and erosion on our riverbanks and coastline. We won’t know the total cost of the damage until the floodwaters subside – but we’re expecting it to be in the millions.”

He said residents of Hinton, Woodville and Osterley remain isolated while many others continue to be inundated with floodwaters.

“Our teams have been out across the community doing as much as they can. We’ve had up to five crews repairing potholes with an extra two contractor crews helping out.”

“As a priority, they’re fixing the worst potholes on our high speed roads. Over the next few weeks, they’ll start working across the LGA,” the Mayor said.

Facilities and Service Group Manager, Greg Kable described the rain damage as “heartbreaking”.

“Our teams have been working nonstop to try and get on top of the damage to our roads from the March storms and just as we’re starting to see some real progress, we’ve been forced back to where we started,” Mr Kable said.

“At the moment, the ground is so wet, we have little option but to fill the potholes with a material that isn’t as stable as we’d like. The higher quality mix on the wet ground won’t work, so we’ll have to come back and repair them again with a stronger fix.

“The safety of the community on our roads is a priority,” he said.

Mayor Palmer acknowledged the hard work of Council staff over the past week.

“We’ve had staff at the Local Emergency Management Centre at Maitland all week and we have teams working around the clock monitoring river levels and closing roads – plus crews out and about undertaking emergency repairs to roads and other infrastructure,” he said.

“I also want to acknowledge our incredible emergency services, especially the SES, and all the others supporting the response and recovery effort across Port Stephens.

“We know this is a tough time for our community and I want to thank you for your patience during the recovery phase.

“We were just hitting our stride in our recovery from the March storms and this has been a real setback for many locals and businesses.

“There’s still a lot of work we need to do to get back to normality and I ask for the community’s support as we plan our recovery.

“We’ll continue to advocate to state and federal governments for their support to help – it’s our job to help ensure we get the best possible outcomes for the Port Stephens community,” the Mayor said.

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