Insurance bill kills popular Baffle Creek retreat
AN insurance bill that has tripled has forced Baffle Retreat B&B's Gary and Elaine Kirk to close the doors on their business.
Mr and Mrs Kirk decided to stop operating their popular B&B when they were hit with an $11,000 bill before Christmas.
The couple were paying an insurance premium of $3500 at the end of 2013, but in December the price increased by $7500 as a result of a flood mapping assessment conducted in their area.
Baffle Retreat and the surrounding area was heavily affected by the January 2013 floods.
"We could not take the risk of uninsuring it," Mr Kirk said.
Reflecting on their decision on Tuesday, Mr Kirk said he was devastated that visitors globally couldn't enjoy the beauty of Baffle anymore.
"I went through surprise, disappointment and then emotional turmoil," he said.
"We were getting a lot of people from overseas who couldn't believe something like this existed.
"It's a loss to Queensland tourism."
Mr and Mrs Kirk had owned their home on the block of land for some time before they transformed it into a B&B in 2011.
It was their pride and joy.
"It was never going to be a money-making thing. I retired as a senior principal from a school in Bundaberg and we did it as a lifestyle choice," he said.
"Elaine would make jams and all the muesli on the condiments table," Mr Kirk said.
"We would ask if people had any requests. If someone said 'I absolutely love crab' we would try and have a meal with crab in it."
Mr Kirk said the business was very successful and rated about four-and-a-half stars by all their visitors.
Annette Smolej, a Gladstone resident of three years, stayed at the retreat in 2014 with her husband and his elderly parents.
"My husband's parents did a lot of talking about the old days and they really enjoyed it," he said.
"The accommodation was beautiful and it's so peaceful."