Todd White was keeping an eye out for rising flood waters from the rear of his Mary Street business, Big Bargain Furniture.
Todd White was keeping an eye out for rising flood waters from the rear of his Mary Street business, Big Bargain Furniture. Renee Pilcher

Mary St firms not worried – yet

A TOWNSHIP and central business district nestled beside a major river has plenty going for it – except when it floods.

Fortunately, there’s ample information available, as well as plenty of people who’ve seen it all before and get a feel for when to head to high ground.

Todd White of Big Bargain Homemakers in Mary Street has been through about five or six major floods.

He’s seen the main street disappear beneath metres of water on quite a few occasions, but he’s not too concerned. Not yet anyway.

He has a plan of action, and keeps a close eye on Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) readings of river heights via the internet, listens to the radio for updates, gauges local and upstream rainfall and keeps a close eye on other businesses fronting Memorial Park, to check what they’re up to.

“I’m not worried at this stage – I don’t think there’s been enough rain – it wasn’t torrential. You do get a feel for it,” he told The Gympie Times yesterday. “And you continue to re-evaluate the situation.”

Generally, he said, there is about 10 to 15 hours notice.

Todd says a bigger flood may not be far off if predicted above average autumn rain eventuates.

“I’m thinking if we get more rain later this month or next month then there could be a drama.”

Generally, his end of town is looking to move out at around 15 metres. The last “big one” peaked at 21.95 metres in February, 1999.

Next door at Billy’s, Lesley Mitchell had everything in hand for an orderly evacuation as the possibility of her first taste of a Mary Street flood inched higher.

“We’ve got a plan and we’ve moved forward on a couple of things – moving surplus stock upstairs,” she said.

Notifying service providers and transport companies to let them know they might be required was another important step undertaken by Lesley.

“Just to let them know it could be happening,” she said.

Lesley thought one good idea that would be helpful for Mary Street businesses would be for the Gympie Regional Council to provide the available storage and coldroom facilities at the Northumberland Hotel (which council has recently purchased) to business people during flood time.

Gympie Times


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