Council boosts disaster preparation arsenal

Townsville City Council has today unveiled its latest tools to help residents prepare for natural disasters – two new automatic sand bagging machines.

“It is time for everyone to start preparing for the coming wet season and planning what they will need to do in the event of a natural disaster,” Deputy Mayor Mark Molachino said.

“The Bureau of Meteorology has recently announced that we are in a La Nina weather pattern, which means there’s a potential for above average tropical cyclone activity and rainfall.

“Now is the time to be preparing and Council is leading the way.

“These new sand bagging machines will play an important role in preparing our city for a flooding event.

“The machines can fill 700 – 1000 sand bags an hour so the process will be much faster for Council staff and volunteers.

“Both of these machines are mobile so Council can move them across the city as required. They feature the work of local artists Nicky Bidju Pryor and Jon Electros Avocado so it is a great way to showcase these talented painters.”

The Queensland Government provided $50,000 funding through its Get Ready Queensland program to purchase the machines, with Council also contributing towards the cost.

State funding has also been received to purchase a conveyor belt for the machines to help move sand that may be dumped by large trucks.

Local Disaster Management Group deputy chairperson Kurt Rehbein has urged residents to plan ahead so they’re ready for the wet season.

“This summer will be different to any we’ve faced before due to COVID-19. The Local Disaster Management Group recently ran an exercise which included considerations around COVID.

“It’s something we can’t be complacent about and it is part of Council’s planning. It is something we will continue to monitor.

“I’m encouraging every household to have a plan in place and the best time to do that is now. Don’t leave it until the day before a disaster strikes.”

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