MORE than 100 property owners in Cape Paterson are still recovering from a freak storm which has racked up millions of dollars in insurance claims for damaged walls, floors, household goods, electricals and more.
Cape Paterson’s Sue Edwards is one of many who were seriously affected by the recent storm event.
She said there was water everywhere – in the walls, in the carpet, and in the drawers.
“There’s some people who’ve had it twice as bad as me,” she said from her home last week.
At the peak of the storm, the bottom level of her two-storey house was covered by a foot of water.
It’s created health and safety concerns with fears of mould growing as well as slab issues.
“The engineers will be out soon to look at the slab and make sure it’s OK,” she said.
“But we’ve seen some of the moisture come through the slate, which is a worry. All of the electricals have to come out.”
On Friday, May 10, a freak storm event caused a heavy downpour.
It was just too much for the small, coastal town.
“All the ice just clogged up the drains and the gutters and so it all just came pouring in the house.”
Upstairs, water was flooding in from the ceiling.
“It was like a water feature.”
Sue, having recently installed a new kitchen upstairs, wanted to protect it.
“I had buckets everywhere to try and catch the water, but it was coming in at a 45-degree angle and hitting all the drawers.
“When I opened the drawers, they were all just full of water.”
The question for Sue now is: “What can I do protect the house from climate change events?
“If this was a climate change event, how do I then protect this place?”
Her home’s certainly full of character.
Some of the doors are from the old Wonthaggi State Coal Mine, as it was closing down, and her dining table is made from wood which Sue discovered when she was ripping up the carpet.
That was a long time ago now, but it’s a reflection of most Cape Paterson properties. They’re old and have got a lot of charm.
“The insurance company will be keen to replace like with like, but we need protection to stop these places from flooding – if this happens again.
“I don’t really want tradies from out of the area coming down to fix everything.
“We’ve got fine, well-qualified tradespeople in Cape Paterson and surrounds – they know all the intricacies of these coastal properties.”
Checking for damage
CAPE Paterson PBE were inundated by water and calls from clients with homes in the coastal community, following the storm, to see if their properties were OK.
Rahnee Skate works at PBE in Cape Paterson – who manages a lot of the holiday rentals and other properties in the area.
“We had a lot of people calling up seeing if we can check their homes for damage,” she said last Thursday.
“So, we’ve been going around and checking a lot of properties.
“We’re connected to the general store and there was extensive damage done in their shop, plus flooding damage in ours.
“But we’re still working, we’ve got our
mobiles, so people can contact us.”
Greg Fenby had damage throughout the timber floors and walls in his Cape Paterson home.
“It was just because of the ice. It blocked all the drains,” he said.
“Insurance has said to me it could be a 35-day restoration, so I don’t know where I am going to stay at this stage.”
Many residents have also been seen driving in and out of town with trailer loads full of rubbish, including water-damaged goods.
“The SES said there were around 150 calls on the Friday,” said Greg.
For some residents, it took their insurance company five days to come out whereas others, it was the next morning.