WET ROAD TO CHURCH: Grey skies and floodwaters closed roads at Billinudgel yesterday.% Picture: Brenden Allen
WET ROAD TO CHURCH: Grey skies and floodwaters closed roads at Billinudgel yesterday.% Picture: Brenden Allen

Billinudgel has seen it all before

By RACHEL AFFLICK

IT was an all too familiar sight for residents of Billinudgel when they awoke yesterday morning.

Their village was flooded, houses were cut-off and cars were stranded.

With a flood warning issued for the area later in the afternoon, the biggest worry for residents was not knowing how high the water would rise.

Billinudgel General Store owner Marc Patten was expecting to have a sleepless night, knowing his stock and equipment would be in jeopardy if the flood waters continued to rise.

"We're just gauging it at the moment. Heavy rain is forecast, but there's not much we can do. We just put stock up as high as we can," he said.

"In the June 2005 flood we were completely destroyed. We had water over a metre inside our shop."

Ocean Shores resident Jim Oliss had parked his car in Billinudgel's main street and arrived to check on it yesterday morning. By then, it was up to the door handles in water.

"It'll have to be towed," Jim said, devastated.

"I didn't know the water would rise that much."

Local mechanic Brett Anderson also arrived at Wilfred Street to find his workplace, Billinudgel Automotive Services, surrounded by flood waters all his tool boxes inside. "I'll have to swim in there. Quite often we swim to work. Not many other mechanics have to do that!" Brett said.

Local Commander of the Byron Shire SES, Noel McAviney, yesterday afternoon said the SES was on alert after a flood warning had been issued.

Two units were flown in from Sydney to help local SES teams deal with the situation, warn residents, and sandbag properties at Byron Bay, South Golden Beach, and New Brighton.

The local surf club was also called in to evacuate a man from his home at Grey's Lane, Tyagarah, which could no longer be reached by road.

"The surf club brought in their rubber dingy and evacuated the man and some of his possessions to a safer place," said Mr McAviney.



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