Dream destroyed: Brisbane man Martin Breen, formerly of Lennox Head, lost the roof of his beachside unit in the tornado.
Dream destroyed: Brisbane man Martin Breen, formerly of Lennox Head, lost the roof of his beachside unit in the tornado. Marc Stapelberg

Anxious wait for Brisbane couple

BRISBANE couple Martin and Sian Breen took one look at their beloved beachfront unit at Lennox Head on YouTube and immediately got their daughter out of school and drove down.

“I was riding my bike to work on Thursday morning when the phone started going nuts,” Mr Breen said.

“I got to work, turned on the computer and the first news story linked to a YouTube video of our house destroyed.

“Thank god the tenant was okay. Elders Real Estate were great. They rang me at 9.30am and said they had bad news – they had already walked through the disaster area and made a list of the damaged properties and were organising accommodation for people in their holiday leases.

“We loved living in Lennox and this is our retirement house, but we have a lengthy period ahead cleaning up, salvaging stuff and getting builders’ quotes.

“I was really surprised when the insurance assessor told me the structure was still sound after the State Emergency Service condemned it.

“Look at it – I’d be surprised if we find a builder who would be willing to repair it.”

Ballina Shire mayor Phillip Silver said council officers were working with builders and property owners to speed up inspections and streamline building applications.

He also said the council was considering fast-tracking building application procedures and lifting fees for owners rebuilding to plan.

“As the natural disaster funding does not cover damage to private property the council may be able to offer some dispensation,” he said on Saturday.

“We hope to get the asbestos situation sorted out with Treasury and the Premier’s Department on Monday.

“Meanwhile, we strongly advise private owners not to remove asbestos themselves without seeking professional advice first.

“Also, disaster funding only covers asbestos removal on public property and there are grey areas with it being blown from public to private land and vice-versa. The Government makes these rules, so it may be able to alter them.”



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