Heavy rains costly for local councils

Rosebank residents Leon McDonald and Daphne Dux thank Lismore City Council maintenance worker Ray Robertson for constructing a walkway over a major landslide near their home that was caused by last weeks heavy rain.

Rosebank couple Leon McDonald and Daphne Dux bore the brunt of last weeks heavy rains, with a major landslide on Hull Road trapping them in their home for nearly a week.

Leon said he knew there was going to be some flooding, but had no idea of the devastation the torrential rain would cause until a neighbour called to say they were hemmed in by mud.

When I walked down the road I saw half the hill missing and I thought oh my God where did all that dirt come from, Leon said. Daphne and I are both on medication and even though we had plenty of food in the house we were worried because no-one could get in or out via Hull Road.

The couples daughter, Bronwyn, contacted the SES and Lismore City Council but was told it was too wet to fix the problem and nothing could be done until the area dried out.

Yesterday (Wednesday) a team of Lismore City Council workers arrived and built a one-lane walkway over the landslide to give Leon, Daphne and other Hull Road residents access to the outside world. When the Council truck arrived, no-one was happier than Leon.

These blokes have done a wonderful job with this walkway because other than growing wings there was no way in the world that we were ever going to get out of here, Leon said. We cant thank the Council enough for what theyve done because without them we would have been stuffed.

Lismore City Council executive director of infrastructure, Garry Hemsworth, said in his eight years with Council it was the worst landslide hed ever seen. Mr Hemsworth said they are giving the area a few more days to dry out before sending an engineer to the site on Monday to assess the situation and decide when and how the road can be rebuilt.

Last weeks torrential rain and moderate flooding has caused major headaches for both Lismore and Ballina Council, leaving a trail of road damage that could cost as much as $1.6 million to repair.

The Pacific Highway went underwater north of Ballina, and many regional roads such as the Lismore-Bangalow Road and Wyrallah Road were both closed in several places on Friday after more than nine inches of rain fell last Thursday night.

Cleaning up the mess and fixing roads is now a priority for both councils, however, Mr Hemsworth said the extent of the damage was not fully known and it could be quite some time before things return to normal.

The clearing and rectification work is beyond Councils resources and we are awaiting advice from the RTA in regard to natural disaster funding, Mr Hemsworth said. Assessment of gravel roads in remote areas is still being undertaken.

At present Dorroughby Road is only open to one lane of traffic following a landslide, and several roads including Elliott, Lychee and Arthur roads had been badly scoured but are passable with care.

In Ballina shire a causeway on Houghlahans Creek Road was completely washed away and the road will be closed indefinitely. A landslide also occurred on Teven Road between Shaws Lane and Eltham Road, however, the road is now open to one lane of traffic.

Richmond Valley Council escaped the worst of the deluge, with spokesman Paul Radnidge saying only minor flooding occurred and there was no significant road damage.

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