Kintore council workers get their first rest since Christmas

10 January 2017

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MacDonnell Regional Council workers in the Kintore community have been working long days since heavy rain caused flooding in their community on Christmas Day.

The past weekend provided workers with their first chance to have a break and get a solid sleep as operations in their community moved from an emergency phase into a recovery phase. Following the dumping of over 200mm of rain in 2 hours, the MacDonnell Regional Council Civil Works team has been central to the cleanup efforts on the ground, working without a break on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and for the following two weeks.

Initially MacDonnell Regional Council’s Essential Services Officer David Brown had to restore the power and ensure all water bores and sewerage were working effectively. Sometimes working 19 hours days, he continues to monitor and ensure the reliable supply of power, potable water and sewerage services for all residents and services.

Among their first tasks, the Civil Works team led by Council Service Coordinator Joe Barham assisted the Essential Services Officer to clear the airstrip of debris so emergency services and personnel could access the remote community, as all road access had been cut off by the downpour. The Civil Works team also assisted at the airstrip with the unloading and transporting back to the community of emergency food and bedding.

At some stages there were up to 10 light aircraft parked at the Kintore airstrip as emergency supplies were flown in and government and services providers visited the community to assess the situation.

Before the cleanup could get into full swing the local Civil Works team had to prepare a new emergency waste management site to handle the influx of flood damaged goods. The crew also had to pump out its main waste management trench so that its usual household refuge handling could return to previously established national standards.

Following the emergency evacuation to the local school of the many residents, who had waters rushing through their homes, council’s Civil Works team supported NT Housing’s cleanup of their effected houses by transporting flood damaged white goods, mattresses and other household items to the newly established emergency waste management site.

MacDonnell Regional Council staff also restored their Centrelink operations for the community despite having only limited communications available.

As operations moved from emergency to recovery over the weekend, the local workforce was able to have a days rest or gain a solid night’s sleep. Their rest is well deserved but short lived as the recovery starts up this week.

After rebalancing the water hygiene levels, the Kintore swimming pool will again be open for business this week. The Essential Services Officer will continue to supply a reliable supply of power and water. Kintore’s Civil Works team will receive much needed support when a Works team from Mount Liebig can safely travel along the Kintore Road. A civil contractor will also travel out soon to assess all internal and access roads managed by MacDonnell Regional Council.

As the Kintore Road dries and becomes open, a small fleet of MacDonnell Regional Council vehicles will make their way bringing more supplies along with staff that had been trapped, by the rains, in Alice Springs. Once MacDonnell Regional Council contractors are able to travel with their tools they will be assisted by the Civil Works teams on the ground to begin rebuilding and repairing council infrastructure so that council’s Youth Services and Children’s Services can recommence operations this week.

Area Manager for MacDonnell Regional Council, Matt Wharton having been made the Local Recovery Coordinator and basing himself in Kintore, said of the local workers in Kintore “the Civil Works team have been the backbone to the emergency operations in Kintore – what this small crew has done is massive”.

MacDonnell Regional Council wishes to thank the Northern Territory Government for its support, and particularly the NT Police for their central role on the ground – all working together to restore the quality of life for the residents in Kintore.

End.