www.thedaily.com.au/Glenn Wardle

'Huge' inundation exciting

FOR many Bellingen Shire residents yesterday's big flood brought with it an air of excitement.

Thora resident Joie Vanrenen, who has been living up the valley for 23 years, described the inundation as 'huge'.

“It's not as big as 2001 but it's close,” Ms Vanrenen said.

“The waters are lapping the bottom of the (Hobart's Bridge) sign, which means the flood level is about 6.2 metres - that's a moderate to major flood (at noon).

“It's amazing - all you can see are waves . . . which at least means the bridge is still there.”

Ms Vanrenen said for her, floods were exciting and fun.

“So long as you are safe, it's an amazing community time.

“Your community becomes redefined as your neighbours between bridges - we all share food and watch the river.”

Out towards Gleniffer, floodwaters prevented Carol and John Ruigrok from getting into Bellingen from their home in the Promised Land.

“It's such a cleansing,” Mrs Ruigrok said.

“And quite exciting - we've already had one neighbour bringing us food.”

In Bellingen itself the mayor Mark Troy said the sheer amount of water running through normally small creeks yesterday morning was astonishing.

“These types of events, where water levels rise very fast, can cause enormous damage,”

Cr Troy said.

“I suspect there will be some major scouring of riverbanks and quite a lot of damage to the bridge and road network.”

With Bellingen isolated, the shire's emergency control centre was set up at Urunga.

The council's general manager, Mike Colreavy, said staff had been out patrolling and closing roads since about 2am on Tuesday.

“Mylestom was cut off, as was Bellingen and the water was through to Bellingen Street in Urunga,” Mr Colreavy said.

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