Amid the devastation of flooded towns, destroyed homes, ruined businesses and loss of life, there have been stories of stoic survivors and communities coming together.
The swimming pool and spa industry has been one of the communities that have dug deep and helped those in their local area – even crossing borders to help those further afield.
Gold Coast based Beith Building and Total Concept Pools general manager Jaz Stokes describes what has been happening during the unprecedented floods.
“We’ve had rivers where we’ve never had rivers before. Personally, I haven’t been affected luckily as I live away from the main rivers, but I’ve been sharing a lot of the information from our subbies and others in the industry.”
Apart from some minor water coming through the back of their factory in Burleigh Heads, the main thing they’ve had to do for clients was dewatering pools that have filled up, putting in drainage gravel and making the sites as safe as possible.
“We had to buy some more submersible pumps to keep up with the dewatering of all the sites and pools. We’ve been extremely lucky, it’s nothing compared to what others have had to do with cleaning up homes, shops, and businesses.”
In an effort to help those worse off, their employees and subbies have crossed the border into northern New South Wales to assist the struggling communities of the Northern Rivers.
“Some of our team, Jack, Nathan and Tora, have gone down to help clean up over the weekend. One of them actually got a bit of a bug from the mud and dust that’s everywhere down there,” she says.
One of the companies to really put its hand up has been Buyrite Steel Supplies, helping the flooded-affected across the border.
“Some of our suppliers like Buyrite Steel have been organising places for people to drop off goods and then loading up their crane trucks and driving down to the Northern Rivers. They’ve been collecting donations from the community and suppliers including sanitary products, clothing, first aid supplies, cleaning products, lots of water, pet food supplies, tanks of fuel…”
Stokes says people were even taking bales of hay down. Another Gold Coast company, GC Jetboat and Parasail, took down their jetboat to get supplies to stranded people.
“They’ve been going up and down the waterways, loading up and delivering the supplies to each house. One of the things they did was take the hay out to feed horses stranded on a bridge,” she says.
Some of the other people going down to help out include Tom from Borderline Plumbing, the guys from Bay Plumbing and from Forefront Plumbing and Maintenance.
“They have been doing everyone’s hose feeds for free. BDR Electrical has been going and helping with electrical works – they do a day or two, and then come back so they can keep their businesses running here on the Coast,” she says.
Supplies running low
While many people are selflessly buying goods and arranging for them to get to the Northern Rivers, or taking them there themselves, some essential items such as gloves and squeegees are already sold out at the Gold Coast supermarkets and Bunnings.
And while the community and industry spirit has been amazing, government services have been noticeably absent, and it took more than a week for them to be sent there to help.
“This is the great thing about social media – everyone’s been sharing things and seeing who’s dropping stuff off each day. It’s been amazing to see, which is great because we haven’t seen anything from the government.”
She says there has been an overwhelming number of volunteers showing up and although the government assistance hasn’t been there, it is inspiring the way the community is helping one another.
She says this is amazing to see after the difficult and sometimes divisive years under the strain of covid.
“The community is really coming together,” she says. “It’s great that everyone’s doing it, and it’s great that the industry is doing it. It’s awesome to see everyone coming together after being divided and isolated for so long.
“It’s a long road of recovery ahead for the locals of these towns and we are just glad that they feel supported by their neighbours and hope that in some way, it eases some of their pain of losing everything.”
If you have a story, images or videos relating to this disaster, please contact SPLASH! editor Chris Maher at email@example.com or on 0412 048 639.