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Call to reflect on Tweed flood tragedies

Ilze Jaunberzins, Pastor Rob Stuttle, Jenny Kidd and Tweed mayor Katie Milne are pushing for a commemorative event to remember the anniversary of the March 2017 floods.
Ilze Jaunberzins, Pastor Rob Stuttle, Jenny Kidd and Tweed mayor Katie Milne are pushing for a commemorative event to remember the anniversary of the March 2017 floods. Scott Davis

CALLS are growing for the community to come together at the end of March to mark the one year anniversary of the tragic flood that claimed six lives on the Tweed.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie tore through the Tweed on March 30, leaving a path of destruction in its wake, the ramifications of which continue to be felt.

Stephanie King and her children, Ella-Jane and Jacob, died when their car plunged into the Tweed River near Tumbulgum, while Matthew Roser, Marc Austin and Gitana Schiphoni died in separate incidents at Murwillumbah and Upper Burringbar.

As the region prepares to mark the 12-month anniversary of the disaster, leaders are now calling for the community to come together to remember the victims as well as the spirit that brought strangers together to help those most impacted by the flood.

Tweed Mayor Katie Milne said the council would be doing something to mark the anniversary, most likely on March 29.

"I think the community's come through a really hard time and it's obviously been a really hard year for a lot of people but there's been some good progress,” Cr Milne said.

"There's a lot of people who are still suffering. We still need to support those people as well and acknowledge their loss.”

She said the proceeds from the Mayor's Flood Appeal had been fully distributed, but there was still some grant money available for the event.

"We want the community to come together,” she said.

"It was wonderful the amount of help the community had for each other during that time. It's an opportunity to thank people again for that.”

Richmond MP Justine Elliot said it would be a "good idea to reflect... on the number of people that passed away during the flood.”

"Also it's a time to remember to strong community spirit that was there in times of need,” she said. Tumbulgum pastor Rob Stuttle said he would love to be part of an event remembering the flood, which he said would likely remember tragedy while celebrating humanity.

"Often in times of tragedy, you see the good side of humanity,” he said.

"There was a lot of grief and trauma. Just the way people gave their time... it's very much the Aussie spirit when people come out and help.”

Murwillumbah and District Chamber of Commerce president Ilze Jaunberzins said the chamber would adopt a commemorative approach at its March meeting.

Murwillumbah resident Trish Webster said a memorial event might help "give people closure”.

Topics:  murwillumbah tweed flood 2017 tweed shire council


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