Cats’ club endures another Mary River flood assault
GYMPIE Cats AFL Club will emerge from this week's major flooding in excellent form thanks to a finetuned flood plan.
Club junior vice-president Brett Hall said everything was running smoothly yesterday as a temperamental Mary River again burst its banks.
Floodwater exceeded 15m early yesterday morning, submerging the Normanby Bridge and cutting off the last remaining link to Gympie's Southside. As rain continued to soak the Mary River catchment, a final peak was still shrouded in uncertainty yesterday.
The river's rapid rise after torrential falls overnight quickly claimed the Cats' Six Mile Oval in similar fashion to a month ago during the Australia Day long weekend flood event.
A flood scare last week prodded the Cats' newly formed flood committee into action, leaving the club in an ideal situation to confront this week's major flood.
"We got most things out," Hall said.
"We've been preparing for the last few weeks expecting more trouble during the flood season."
Complacency has not been a problem for the Cats, valuing preparation and peace of mind over the inconvenience of unnecessary evacuations.
"We were really well prepared this time," he said.
Gympie businesses and their employees endured a sleepless Monday night evacuating in haste, but the Cats were lucky to be spared the midnight toil.
"We didn't really need to be there late (Monday) night," Hall said.
"There was just one final fridge that had to be removed."
The Cats' preparation was so spot on this time around the club even had time to get an electrician in to remove ceiling fans, reducing the financial impact of the rising waters.
As Hall spoke with The Gympie Times mid-morning yesterday, water was already rising in the clubhouse.
The junior vice-president expressed his gratitude for the small army of volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and helped the club tackle yet another Gympie flood.
"We sent out a text asking for assistance and had a number of people reply wanting to help out," he said.
It is a similar story for clubs across the Gympie region. Volunteers have banded together to help fast track evacuations amid rising floodwater.
Hall said as soon as water started to subside, the volunteer army would be donning the gumboots for the big clean-up effort.
Fortunately, the club's recent renovations have made its clubhouse highly flood resistant.
"There will be a lot of cleaning involved but this time there will be less loss," Hall said.
With a peak of 18m tipped early yesterday morning, the water was destined to again rise to the roof the Six Mile Oval clubhouse.
Gympie Cats AFL Club is unfortunate to be in Mary's firing line each time a flood hits but a switched-on flood committee and a swag of volunteers are helping easing the pain.