After all it?s a wonder wall
By STAFF REPORTERS
IT WORKED! The new $19 million Lismore flood levee saved the city from major damage, Mayor Merv King said last night.
But the flood will still cost the city over half a million dollars, a council spokesman said.
NSW Premier Bob Carr has pledged his support to flood-hit areas and is expected to arrive in Lismore today to inspect damage in the region first hand.
The final damage bill for bridges, roads and infrastructure is yet to be tallied as floodwaters recede, but will be substantially less than the $2.5 million it cost the council in the 2001 flood when Lismore was declared a natural disaster area.
And that figure doesn't take into account the millions lost by local business due to water damage and loss of stock.
The major winners in this flood have been CBD business owners and residents who, for the first time in history, have had a mid-level flood kept out of their shop fronts and lounge rooms.
The losers were residents in North Lismore and Coraki who today might be wondering whether Lismore's success came at their expense.
While most of Lismore breathed a sigh of relief, life was severely disrupted for 5000 people evacuated from their homes from Woodburn to Tweed Heads.
Of those, 3760 were from the Lismore area, SES division controller Scott Hanckel said, with 800 from North Lismore alone.
Many were taken by bus to an evacuation camp set up in the gymnasium at Southern Cross University where they spent the night camped on mattresses on the floor.
Some of the worst flooding happened in the South Golden Beach and Ocean Shores areas where a huge number of houses were flooded and roads cut.
Many local roads were cut including Wyrallah, Nimbin, Bangalow, Coraki and Boat Harbour Roads and the Pacific Highway was cut north and south of Ballina and at Tyagarah.