Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Stranded

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SES delivers medication and dog biscuits to stranded residents

About 100 people were stranded for five days last week at Green Pigeon by the floodwaters of Fawcetts Creek.

The usual wooden bridge access was gone. Matthews Bridge, known as Burgess Bridge by locals, was pulled down because Kyogle Council was building a new one in its place.

Fawcetts Creek
So much water, so close to home: Water levels rose in Fawcetts Creek and washed away a temporary side road and the only access for Green Pigeon residents. Photo: Susanna Freymark.
Council works on access road
Council had materials and machines ready to repair the access road to Green Pigeon as soon as rain eased. Photo: Susanna Freymark

Council made a temporary side road at the crossing after the Killaloe turnoff on Green Pigeon Rd.

That crossing became impassable on Wednesday after steady rain increased the flow of Fawcetts Creek and floodwaters washed away the road base of the only access to Green Pigeon.

The Independent’s rain monitor Lyn Walters said the steady rain kept the creek waters high.

There was 1.6mm of rain on Tuesday and 39.2mm on Wednesday, making it difficult for any repair work. A further 67mm on Thursday and 40mm on Friday meant the residents’ isolation continued with no chance of their access road being repaired.

A woman who went to town to shop on Wednesday couldn’t return home.

At midnight on Friday she contacted Kyogle SES for help.

SES member Deb Castledine said the woman needed to get medication to her husband on the Green Pigeon side of the fast-flowing river.

On Saturday morning, Kyogle SES volunteers coordinated with Kyogle Council workers to use the council’s crane with a ‘man cage’ hanging from the end of the crane to lift food, fuel, dog biscuits and medication to the woman’s husband.

The SES put supplies in roller boxes and the jib of the crane was extended to hoist the supplies in the cage across the river.

It’s the first time we’ve done a food drop,” Ms Castledine said.

“We were happy to deliver dog biscuits. We help where we can, not just in disasters.”

The SES worked with council to make it as comfortable as possible for residents, she said.

Foot access across the river was set up on the weekend and friends were then able to get vital supplies to Green Pigeon residents.

Kyogle Council general manager Graham Kennett said the temporary sidetrack was in place while the piling contractors started the foundation work on the bridge.

“The flow is still up in the creek, so council are unable to restore the sidetrack until the water recedes,” he said.

“Council has stockpiled material near the bridge so that the access can be restored as soon as the water recedes.”

Richmond River Independent 24 February 2021

Resident Bill Williams was concerned about the tonnes of sediment washed into the gullies and creeks from the road grading and bridge works.

This article appeared in the Richmond River Independent, 24 February 2021.

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