Baffle Creek caravan park marks milestone after flood
THE Baffle Creek Caravan and Camping Park suffered severe damage in the January floods.
This weekend, owners Roger and Sally Ehrlich will be able to offer van and cottage accommodation for the first time since the area copped a drenching.
The family never expected the water to rise as high as it did. It's an afterthought shared by many in flood affected central Queensland.
"We lost all our accommodation," Roger said. "On site vans and a cottage."
Since then, the family has been busy, undertaking the majority of repairs themselves.
"We've spent at least $60,000 on repairs but that doesn't include lost revenue," Roger said. "We only re-opened at Easter and that was just for camping."
Roger said many Baffle Creek community members were yet to return home.
"There are a lot of older people in town who have been severely affected," Roger said. "They're just lost."
For some it was too much.
"Some have just moved away," Roger said. "Insurance companies need to get their act together. Some are trying to get out of paying."
Roger said badly damaged infrastructure in the area was only just being repaired.
"The council's starting to come good now, but it took a long time," he said. "The major boat ramp was only fixed in the last week."
Roger said roads were in desperate need of attention.
"They've been left for too long," he said. "Bitumen has just been washed. There's a 200 metre strips full of potholes.
"This is the main road into the area."
But Roger admits the waiting time for repairs is somewhat expected.
"Baffle Creek's a bit of a forgotten place," he said. "People come here to get away."
For Roger and many others that call Baffle home, isolation is the drawcard.
"It's peaceful and quiet, and the best fishing on the southern coast of Queensland," Roger said.
Looking ahead, there's still plenty to do.
"We've still got to repair some of the accommodation," Roger said. "It's been hard to get anyone here to do the work. A lot of the tradesmen are busy in Bundaberg.
"A lot of the older people in town are waiting to have repairs done so they can go home."
Despite months of hardship, and no doubt more to come, Roger's outlook remains optimistic.
"We'll be right," he said. "We're a pretty hearty lot here."