Alstonville resident Darren Watts is still waiting to hear whether he will be compensated for damage.
Alstonville resident Darren Watts is still waiting to hear whether he will be compensated for damage.

Flash floods flush out few answers

AN Alstonville man affected by flash flooding during last week’s storm has yet to hear whether the RTA will reimburse him for damaged personal property.

Residents living on low-lying blocks at Broadwater also won’t receive any magic fix from the Richmond Valley Council, because the unusual storm event created conditions way outside normal parameters.

Last week’s deluge, a product of warm moist surface air rising into a cold pool of air in the upper atmosphere, dumped more than 250mm on Broadwater in just a few hours, and 160mm on Alstonville in as short a time.

But for Alstonville resident Darren Watts run-off from the storm involved more than water. “I woke to find part of the Alstonville bypass in my house,” the single father of two boys said.

Heavy run-off was expected, but Mr Watts said the unexpected element was a pile of red soil and gravel immediately up the slope from his unit on the Wardell Road.

Virtually all that material landed in his home, saturating the carpet, soaking the plasterboard walls and splitting the skirting board.

While his home is insured, its contents are not, and this is where Mr Watts, a ‘battler’, becomes lost for words.

Meanwhile, the RTA has paid to clean Mr Watts’ home and that of his neighbour, who suffered similar damage.

Earthworks and other controls have been put in place to avoid future rain run-off.

An RTA spokesman said the RTA and its contractor, Reed Group, were ‘working closely with the residents of the units to rectify the damage and progress claims through appropriate channels’.

At Broadwater, where flash flooding flushed new resident Michelle Walker and her family out of their temporary caravan, poor drainage was blamed for the problem.

Richmond Valley Council engineer Gary Murphy said little could be done to increase drainage capacity in the area because the main drain flowed under the Pacific Highway, where it was restricted by a pipe.



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