Long road ahead for clean-up

Emergency services restore a power line after the storm. (Pic Matty Be)

By Oliver Lees

Three weeks after extreme weather battered the Macedon Ranges, businesses and emergency services are still working around the clock to recover from the damage.

Top of the Range Tea Rooms and the entire Macedon Regional Parks has remained closed to the public since June 10, as emergency services work to clear the area of fallen trees.

Tea Rooms proprietor Luke Chapman said it was another blow to his business after an already difficult year.

“We will miss out on some of the busier traffic that the park usually gets on school holidays,” Mr Chapman said.

“In general our business is surviving despite these setbacks, but it has been a hard year, we are looking forward to a return to normal.”

Woodend SES controller Kevin McNair said the extreme wind and rain which lashed the region was the most intense wet weather event he has seen in his 12 years’ experience.

“It’s really just the scale of it, I was there during the 2010-11 floods, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” Mr McNair said.

“Power line after power line down, it really did look like a war zone.

“I predict that we’ll still be doing jobs for the next month related to this.”

Gisborne SES has continued to experience a high volume of requests for help, with more than 100 calls for assistance received in a 48-hour period last week.

A Gisborne SES spokesperson said most of their jobs had been in Gisborne, Macedon and surrounding areas.

According to Powercor, power was successfully restored to all areas within north central Victoria on June 15, after some homes and businesses in the area went without for more than a week.

Coliban Water also confirmed that the ‘do not drink’ advice for Trentham has been lifted and that the burst water tank has been repaired.

Macedon Ranges council has been providing shower facilities, heating, power and food at its recovery operations centre.

Council chief executive officer Bernie O’Sullivan said efforts to clear roads of tree debris would likely be ongoing for the next four to six weeks.

“Council is providing assistance to residents who have reported property damage by providing free inspections by the municipal building surveyor and arborists,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Macedon Ranges Shire Council has been included in the list of councils eligible to seek funding from the joint state and federal government funding.

“We know that a number of private properties across the shire have sustained damage to fences and trees and council is advocating to the state government to provide assistance to residents with this clean up.”

For SES assistance, call 132 500. In case of emergency, call triple-0