Images of the storm that hit Woodburn and Evans Head on Saturday, November 17, 2012.
Images of the storm that hit Woodburn and Evans Head on Saturday, November 17, 2012. Mark Heath

Disaster declaration inevitable

WOODBURN is still waiting for a disaster declaration after violent storms ripped through the town at the weekend.

However, Richmond Valley Council says damage to public infrastructure suffered during the 15-minute storm sits at about $500,000, easily passing the $250,000 threshold needed to make a disaster declaration.

In the meantime, the council is allowing residents to take storm debris to its Evans Head Transfer Station and Bora Ridge landfill for free.

Richmond Valley Council general manager John Walker said while the Evans Head Transfer Station would normally be closed, both sites would be operating from 8:30am to 4:30pm today.

Mr Walker said clean, green waste and storm-damaged metal from the lower river area, as well as obvious storm debris, would be accepted at no cost to the resident.

He asked residents to sort the rubbish as much as possible.

Council workers were focussing their attention on rural road vegetation processing, after making the roads safe and passable on the weekend.

"I urge people to take care in and around the storm-affected areas as chippers and other plant will be operating and there is a lot of small debris on roads," Mr Walker said.

Mr Walker said the clearing of debris from public areas was also underway.

Insured properties should be removing debris to licensed landfills as part of their insurance/recovery process.

However, he said damaged private properties would need to seek advice from their insurance companies, as most policies required an inspection by a representative of the company before any rubbish was removed and this removal should be covered by insurance.

For uninsured properties, the council was trying to find out what type of assistance was needed so all avenues could be explored.

"Council will give further advice on whether a kerbside clean up might be arranged," Mr Walker said.

"If you are helping Council by cleaning up items from the roadsides, please try to separate into green waste, scrap metal and general debris."

Storm scammers

NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts has issued a warning for Woodburn residents to be on the lookout for storm scammers.

Mr Roberts said some people tried to take advantage of victims of disasters and the travelling conmen and other "quick fix" scammers could target Woodburn.

Residents should bne cautious of tradespeople arriving unannounced and offering to repair damaged, he said.

"Unlicensed scammers and shoddy repairers often go door to door in storm affected areas and often ask for deposits upfront," Mr Roberts said.

"These storm chasers target vulnerable consumers anxious to have their properties repaired quickly.

They promise everything but are fast to disappear, leaving jobs incomplete or with sub-standard work.

Mr Roberts said Fair Trading can help storm victims by:

  • providing information on how to choose suitable tradespeople to carry out home building repairs and maintenance
  • providing information about deposits and contracts advising people in rented accommodation and their landlords about their rights and obligations with regard to urgent repairs and compensation
  • providing referrals to other service providers, including legal and financial.

Mr Roberts said residents should not get up on any roof fitted with solar panels, particularly if tree branches have come down.

If you have been approached by someone claiming to be a tradie and want to check their licence, you can do so here.



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