Valley angered over road flooding
IT started off as a sort of party on each side of the flood-divided road near what locals describe as Nellie Simpson Road.
Later talk developed of possible action against the Gladstone Area Water Board or the Main Roads Department, including class action.
People living on each side of the flooded Nellie Simpson Road intersection agreed to meet on Thursday to enjoy the spectacle of the flooded road and to express their gripe at what they regard as bad planning in the road construction.
The only way the two sides communicated with each other was by boat. Also some people who had been stuck for days in the Boyne Valley were ferried to join families elsewhere or to get to their workplace.
It wasn't raging floodwaters that kept the two side apart, but back-up from the dam, which raised the water level several metres above the road for about 2km.
One of the organisers of the meeting, long-time resident of the area Albert Spencer, said there was something of a party atmosphere, “but there was also a fair bit of anger” that access to the Boyne Valley had been cut, and that it would remain that way for a few days.
He said it was expected the road would become trafficable today or tomorrow, but only because there had been no more rain.
Some of the people on the Boyne Valley side made it to the meeting site from the Builyan-Many Peaks area. The locals work on the historical wisdom is that if Deception Creek near Many Peaks becomes fordable, then the road from the Boyne Valley would be clear right into Calliope and onto Gladstone.
Not this time. The road was impassable for nearly a week.
The local store at Ubobo was critically low of supplies and petrol at his pump was being rationed to a limit of $20.
Two dairy farms had to discard thousands of litres of milk because they could not get their product to the dairy costing them thousands of dollars.
This week a former GAWB member told The Observer the stretch of road that was relocated for the 40 metre expansion of Awoonga Dam was designed to cause no more delay than had previously been experienced at the Futter Creek crossing along the old bridge.
However, residents claim that Futter Creek was no more a problem than the Boyne River Crossings near Builyan, Degalgil Creek near Nagoorin and Marble Creek at Milton.
“Of course depending on where the rain fell, most of those crossings were on a par and could be relied on to recede a enough to cross within 24 hours,” said Alistair McLachlan who owns a historical property in the Valley.
Frank McKee of Builyan and Mr Spencer agreed and this was despite the fact that some of the former floods were even greater than the current one.
Yesterday Mr Spencer delivered a letter to The Observer expressing the concern Boyne Valley communities' over the state of the road.
He invited people who suffered stress or financial stress to contact him (see his letter this edition) to discuss further action.
At The Observer office yesterday he said one possible move was for the community to take class action against GAWB.
“This flooding is continuous for a longer period than is acceptable,” he said.