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Where?s my backyard?

The ugly v-shaped gash left in the lawn of Georgina Haul?s riverside Fernmount property in the wake of last week?s flood. The p
The ugly v-shaped gash left in the lawn of Georgina Haul?s riverside Fernmount property in the wake of last week?s flood. The p

By BELINDA SCOTT

GEORGINA Haul has postponed the auction of her Fernmount house for the best of reasons ? a big chunk of her lawn has gone missing.

Gazing over her lush vegetable garden yesterday at the tangle of tree roots that has replaced the stretch of turf, Ms Haul was looking on the bright side ? she has already put in a development application to begin the repair process and the rock revetment work she is planning will be a major asset to her riverside property.

"It will be fantastic when it is repaired and council, Rivercare and the catchment authority have been brilliant, it's just a pain in the butt, because about six different government departments are involved," she said.

Ms Haul's home, in a secluded location in Fernmount's Tyson Street, has spectacular views across the Bellinger River over lush dairy pastures to the mountains.

But it was the hungry floodwaters of the beautiful Bellinger that chewed a deep v-shaped chunk out of her backyard on Thursday and Friday.

Ms Haul said a local dairy farmer had told her the floodwater level had come up to the garden lighting on the lawn behind her swimming pool, which is built into an elevated deck.

She said while she has lost between three and four square metres of land, and estimates repairing the bank and replacing the lawn so the same thing will not happen again will cost her about $15,000, it was fortunate the river's land grab did not cause any structural damage.

"It's like suddenly having to buy a car ? and because it's not classified as a natural disaster we won't get any (government) funding," Ms Haul said.

Her nextdoor neighbour, Jody Newhouse, whose backyard has also suffered from the flood, is upset that the situation has not been declared a natural disaster.

"What do you call it when two houses nearly go in the river? Someone's house is an emotional thing," she said.

Mrs Newhouse and her husband, who own and operate the Bellingen Canoe Centre, have built rock revets and carried out extensive plantings on the riverbank in front of their house, but she said they had fought a long battle with bureaucracy over the problem, with at least four different government bodies involved.

Work on the banks of the river, which is tidal at Fernmount, involves NSW Fisheries as well as water and land management bodies, but Mrs Newhouse said the undermining of banks upstream, which had not been stabilised, had affected their property.

"We're doing the best we can," Mrs Newhouse said.

"We've already spent $20,000 down there and we estimate we will have to spend another $7000 to $10,000."



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