The combined Recovery Taskforce has been hard at work this weekend to return Kempsey Shire to normal as quickly as possible.
The recovery effort is being coordinated by local senior personnel from NSW Police Force, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), Rural Fire Service (RFS), SES, Australian Defence Force (ADF), Resilience NSW and Kempsey Shire Council.
ADF, Fire and Rescue and Council crews were cleaning roads, bridges and schools to allow them to be safe and accessible again.
Council and ADF completed the pothole fill at Stuarts Point, Grassy Head and Fisherman’s Reach. They were washing the sludge from bridges, Rudder and Fourth Streets as they emerge from floodwater. Work also started on Summer Island Road, South West Rocks and Arakoon.
Getting schools ready to open on Monday was a priority so all schools were inspected by Fire and Rescue. At Smithtown Public School, the crews cleaned and bleached all the classrooms that had mould growth. They also replaced sandpit sand and mulched the gardens.
RFS crews completed washout and clearing at Smithtown and Gladstone while ADF crews delivered 120 bales of hay down Maria River Rd through water up to a metre deep.
Closer to town, work was done to clear and restore Riverside Park. The ADF and FRNSW were clearing debris, installing new softfall and spreading fresh woodchips for the play areas.
Local lands services worked with landholders to assess and plan for disposal of deceased animals. More than 300 properties were assessed with almost 40 being classed as inhabitable.
On Friday, Rapid Response engineers and Council staff did a helicopter assessment of roads and bridges upriver where cars could not access using advanced RFS imaging technology.
Kempsey Shire Council Mayor, Liz Campbell, said she would like to extend her appreciation and gratitude on behalf of the Council and residents of Kempsey Shire to all the agencies and workers who are contributing to the recovery effort.
Cr Campbell said, “The Recovery Taskforce agencies have been working tirelessly to complete extraordinary work throughout the Shire.”
“It has been a privilege to see the coordination and cooperation of so many agencies working for a single purpose.
“There is still work to be done, but with the Recovery Taskforce and the resilience of the people in Kempsey Shire, we will come through this disaster stronger together.”