Home' The Great Southern Star : January 4th 2017 Contents PAGE 2 - “THE STAR” Wednesday, January 4, 2017
By Tony Giles
THUNDERSTORMS hit Leongatha last
Thursday, December 29 and caused con-
cern for residents of Turner Street, Leon-
gatha, with at least one house inundated
The sudden deluge caused water to gush out of
McIndoe Park, and across the road before heading
towards houses on the other side of the road.
Owners of houses nearby were quick to act
in their efforts to try to unblock the drain which
seemed to be clogged with debris and pine chips
from the park.
Resident of Turner Street since 1993, Ron Sin-
clair, and his brother-in-law Sam Withers were out
on the roadside clearing the gutters and drains to
try to prevent water from entering houses.
The house adjacent to the park suffered some
flooding to a lower level but the resident was too
upset to comment to The Star.
Across the road from the park two houses came
very close to being inundated.
Megan Fidler said the water lapped to within
two centimetres of her top step. She was very ap-
preciative of her neighbours, the SES and South
Gippsland Shire Council for ensuring water didn’t
enter the house. Mrs Fidler was out sweeping up
all the debris from her driveway the next day.
Mr Sinclair said he had seen the park and road
flood like this seven to eight times in his time at his
“We started clearing the sticks, leaves and pine
bark from the gutter and also lifted the pit lid and
this helped immediately. By the time the shire and
SES arrived the situation had improved,” Mr Sin-
clair told The Star.
“Unfortunately drivers kept coming through
quickly on the road, splashing up water and we got
“There has been improvements made to drains
over the years but what the shire needs to do more
often is clear away the build-up of leaves, sticks
and debris from in and around the drains and this
flooding would not occur.
“Sometimes the gardeners come but the debris
is sometimes left in a pile and not removed. They
need to maintain and clean the area more often to
prevent a repeat of this.”
Fred Huitema, council’s manager operations,
infrastructure maintenance said council maintains
McIndoe Park and the drain to the highest standard
possible within the resources available.
“All council road and drainage maintenance
works are prioritised according to the level of risk
to ensure the available resources are focusing on
the safety of the community. Council has recently
carried out works to increase the capacity and aid
the flow of debris through the culvert,” Mr Huit-
“In the days leading up to the storm we had
some hot, dry weather which places trees under
stress and they tend to shed more sticks and leaf
litter than normal under these conditions.
“Summer storms like the one Leongatha ex-
perienced on Thursday have a high rainfall inten-
sity in a short time. This combination can create
a higher amount of flood debris which can be
problematic with the free flow of water through
Council’s maintenance crews attended Turner
Street as soon as possible to clear the drains and
Blocked drains: residents of Turner Street, Leongatha, inspect blocked drains.
Instant flood: water flows quickly out of McIndoe Park, across the road and towards houses
in Turner Street, Leongatha.
other council staff visited the affected homes
to provide support and advice on clean-up and
Elsewhere during the storm, a car came to grief
when it left the South Gippsland Highway near
Gwythers Siding Road, south of Leongatha and
headed straight for the bush.
Leongatha Police urged people to drive to the
conditions as it was raining heavily at the time.
The driver and three passengers were lucky not to
have sustained injuries as there were trees in the
area where the car left the road.
The deluge also forced many under cover until
the rain subsided. A bike rider, in Leongatha’s Mc-
Cartin Street got caught up in the storm and waited
it out until the rain eased.
Good Samaritans: Sam Withers, left, who was visiting his brother-in-law Ron Sinclair,
right, helped clear drains before the Leongatha SES and workers from South Gippsland
Shire Council assisted.
Slid off road: this car came to grief during last Thursday’s deluge as it left the South
Gippsland Highway near Gwythers Siding Road, south of Leongatha.
Quick escape: Troy Grabham of Outtrim was having a leisurely ride until the deluge forced
him under cover in Leongatha at the height of the thunderstorm.
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