$30m in flood damage 'conservative'

COFFS Harbour mayor Keith Rhoades said yesterday it would be weeks if not months before a full assessment of the damage to infrastructure from Tuesday's deluge would be known.

“People are saying it is greater than 1996,” he said yesterday.

“The costs have risen since 1996 and the damage was more widespread so you would have to be very conservative in saying the costs will surpass $30 million.”

Already the Insurance Council of Australia said claims for $29 million had been received.

Cr Rhoades said this week had seen water through buildings in Urunga and Sawtell that had never been inundated before.

Describing the water problem as 'too much, too quick' he said council had a sophisticated planning system which could plot where the water would go, so new buildings would not be placed there, but 18 inches (450mm) of rain in such a short time had to go somewhere.

He said flood mitigation work undertaken since 1996, especially in West Coffs Harbour and the CBD, had been effective, with no flooding six weeks ago and a lower level of water this week.

Little consolation for the hundreds of businesses and homes who were affected.

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