Pensioner’s flooding woes

Headshot of Gavin Box
Gavin BoxGeraldton Guardian
VideoStorm on May 24, 2018, floods the patio of Geraldton pensioner's new home, laps up against doors. Video: Yvonne Udell

Bluff Point pensioner Yvonne Udell choked back tears as she surveyed the filthy mess in the patio of her new home.

Heavy rains from a severe storm that swept through Geraldton last month inundated the patio and came within centimetres of her front door.

Once the water finally drained away, the patio pavers were caked in dirt and sediment.

“It was pelting into the patio, I tried to brick it up but the rain was too heavy,” the 62-year-old said.

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“It was looking beautiful, but now look at it.”

Ms Udell, who is a full-time carer for her sick 88-year-old mother, moved into the Chapman Road property two months ago.

She said she raised concerns about road drainage with the City of Greater Geraldton more than a year ago, but was told the $25,000 needed to fix the problem was not available.

“They admitted 18 months ago there was a road drainage issue, they knew how to fix it, they said they would put it in the budget, but nothing has been done,” she said.

“I’m not happy and my insurance company is not happy, because if nothing is done, my house could be flooded.”

A City document on the issue, provided by Ms Udell to The Guardian, states officers are aware of the issue and will actively seek funding for the work, but priority is being given to fixing stormwater problems where water is flowing through residents’ homes.

City chief executive Ross McKim yesterday said the City regretted that it had not resolved the issue for Mrs Udell.

“With respect to Ms Yvonne Udell’s specific issue, I apologise for not resolving her issues prior to the storm event,” he said.

“It is important that residents can feel secure in their homes.

“Officers will install short-term measures as a priority this week and continue to design a permanent solution as a priority.”

Mr McKim said the City had been working hard over the past 18 months identifying and fixing stormwater draining problems across the City.

This included drainage work in Polo Road, Woorree, where a house was flooding; at Walkaway where the historic store was getting water damage; Hepburn Street, Utakarra; Rundle Park, Bluff Point; Bayview Street, Mount Tarcoola; Triton Street, Sunset Beach; Olive Street, Mahomets Flats; and at The Recreation Ground, Geraldton.

The State Emergency Service had six call-outs in Geraldton and Kalbarri overnight when last month’s storm hit.

The strong cold front dumped 19mm of rain on Geraldton in six hours and cut power to thousands of properties in Geraldton, Kalbarri and across the Mid West.

Crews were called to a house in First Street, Wonthella, where water was coming through a roof into a back room.

In Moses Street, Geraldton, heavy winds caused shed damage and in Kalbarri, fences came down, falling on a car in Grey Street and a structure in Kaiber Street.

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