Record rain dumps on Ballina

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL and DAWN COHEN

SHARON Carruthers was too busy saving her Ballina business after yesterday's flash floods to worry about her birthday.

It was five hours into the day before she even realised she had turned 36.

"We got to the shop at about 3am and started hauling everything out," she said.

"I didn't even remember my birthday."

Fortunately for the Grant Street resident her fabric, clothing and alterations business, Wonderbug, is directly across the road from her home.

Co-owner Joy Crowe and a group of friends and family spent yesterday dragging hundreds of soaked rolls of fabric and damaged machinery to Sharon's garage.

"It's impossible to say how many dollars worth of damage has been done," said Joy.

"Our alterations stayed dry, but we have to inspect the rest of the stock to see how badly damaged it is."

The business was insured, but Joy was still waiting yesterday to hear if her policy included coverage for floods. Ballina had its highest daily October rainfall ever in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday with 223mm.

State Emergency Service worker Gary Legg said he was called to 10 houses to repair leaking roofs, primarily in South Ballina and houses close to the CBD.

Worst affected included Riverview Avenue, and Hickey, Caravan, Vera, Swift, and Bentinck streets.

Most of the trouble was caused by blocked gutters, according to Mr Legg.

Ballina mayor Phil Silver said the event was not technically flooding.

"It was a localised stormwater event," he said.

"The capacity of our drainage system was tested, and it failed in Holden Lane and possibly at Grant Street.

"My understanding is no houses were inundated. Ballina is a low delta island, and the amount of fall from the affected area and the river makes it difficult to shift enough water during heavy rain."



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