Residents were trapped in their homes as ex Cyclone Debbie crossed over the Beechmont range on Thursday night 30 March 2017, dumping 500 millimetres of rain, causing landslides, flooding, and road closures.
By the following morning; Beechmont-Nerang road was washed out in multiple sections and Beechmont-Canungra road was flooded.
With no power, phone lines or way out, people were forced to survive on what food stores they had in their homes for up to four days.
Upper Beechmont resident Mr Jason Gardiner said, “I’ve never seen rain like this, It filled two of our 20,000 litre water tanks overnight, two trees crashed in our yard, It felt like the end of the world.” Mr Gardiner was unable to access Nerang for four days due to road collapse and landslides. He said, “Nerang shops were all shutting at midday on the Thursday in preparation; we only just made it up the range. The whole side of the mountain was a waterfall, overnight we were cut off from civilisation.”
Lower Beechmont land owner, Mr Greg Bible Woke up on Friday to a damaged main road above their property. It still has a lane closed for repair. He said, “Despite the main road incident, our property held up well. Over a ten year period we have strategically planted rainforest and native trees along our slopes, in preparation for such events. It worked perfectly.
Chief Scout of “Better Roads for Beechmont” Lobby group Mr Greg McKenzie said, “We have been lobbying the government for ten years in regards to Beechmont road. It has a diverse unrestricted traffic flow and is registered as a main road, we would like to see it treated as one.”
Mr McKenzie believes the road would have held up had the State Government continued regular annual upgrades. He said, “We are an ethical and compassionate lobby group that understands the costs associated with road maintenance. However we draw the line when it involves the safety of our community and the road users.”
Written by – Stephen Lindfield