Business owners ‘broken’ after stores flooded
DEVASTATED business owners whose stores were flooded after a water main burst on a busy Townsville road are expecting the cost of the damage to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The pipe burst about 6am Sunday on Charters Towers Rd near the intersection with Bowen Rd.
Water which continued to gush for hours afterwards, inundated several businesses leaving furniture, stock and equipment covered in mud and water damaged.
Traffic diversions are in place, with a section of the inbound lane on Charters Towers Rd closed.
Store owners, employees and family members were sweeping wave after wave of water from their shops outside of the back of the buildings.
Gentleman Jones barber shop owner Cassandra Jones said she was "completely broken" and "disheartened," finding out her business had been flooded after waking up to photos sent by loyal customers passing the store.
"We actually didn't believe it, we thought the photo was not real, it was from somebody else's shop," she said.
"We had a break in about a week ago, so we just recovered from that, and we're still having our house finished after the floods.
"Business is quiet because of the floods, it's just unfair that we've managed to survive every single flood, every single downpour of rain...and now all those shops in that premises are all underwater."
Ms Jones said she could not "fathom" the cost of repairs, estimating it to be in the vicinity of hundreds of thousands of dollars, with 150-year-old chairs, a 200-year-old church pew and antiques damaged.
"We will be open, we cannot afford to stay closed … I have nine employees that I support their families and at the moment they can't afford to be missing out on pay, it's just not fair," she said.
Redback Archery and Bowhunting Supplies owner Scott Murray said his shop was insured for theft, but not water damage or flooding.
"It's already been a tough economy and we're not going to be able to open for a week at least," he said.
"We're going to try and push through it, we're going to try and stay open … it's devastating."
Ray White Commercial manager Melissa Kotze said about five businesses in the building she oversees were affected.
"We need to make sure that all our tenants are OK, insurance has already been called," she said.
"I'm sending them (insurers) photos, video clips, they'll send someone out here tomorrow to assess the situation."
A Townsville City Council spokesman said crews were on scene helping businesses and would be investigating the cause.
"Our immediate focus has been on stopping the water, fixing the main, assisting those affected and identifying the damage caused," he said.
"Our staff were on site working with businesses this morning and we will return to help with the clean-up.
"Continued communication and support will be our priority."