Lake Awoonga business owner plays the waiting game

20th October 2017 4:30 AM
Lake Awoonga Boating and Leisure Hire inundated with flood water in March after ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit. Lake Awoonga Boating and Leisure Hire inundated with flood water in March after ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit. Nijel Trezise

ASSUMING his shop is under water is the only thing a Gladstone business owner can do as he plays the waiting game with the weather.

Nijel "Nudge" Trezise, the owner of Lake Awoonga Boating and Leisure Hire was forced to close up shop earlier this week when his business was threatened by flood water.

Awoonga Dam spilled early Wednesday morning and had risen another two metres by Thursday night.

"At the moment I'm stuck inside the house on top of the hill from where we work," Mr Trezise said.

RELATED | Awoonga Dam to hit three metres over spillway today

He was forced to retreat to the confines of his home when the dam level reached 41.5m (1.5m above the spillway). He hasn't been able to return since.

"I have to assume it'll (the shop) be under," he said.

Mr Trezise said he had suffered at the hands of localised flooding before, but that this week's water levels were even higher than those he'd experienced when ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit in March.

"It is what it is. We're trying to stay positive at the moment," he said.

"The shop's insured, so now we just have to play the waiting game for the levels to go down."

Gladstone Area Water Board predicted the dam would peak at 42.9m on Thursday night. Today, levels are expected to go down, with a steady inflow of water moving down the Boyne Valley and into the lake.

"It can take some time to go down though. Three metres over the spillway is a lot," a GAWB spokeswoman said.

RELATED | 'The flood's at my floor': Rurals sitting on own islands

But sitting at the top of his hill, Mr Trezise said he was crossing his fingers the flood waters would drop down sooner rather than later.

"Hopefully it'll just keep spilling now, but it's not looking all that great," he said.

"Once it goes down a safety team will go through and do their inspections and then we'll get the all-clear to return to the shop.

"The water board is also really good with cleaning the area up after floods and things so it should be a nice area again soon.

And though the flash floods and dam spill have impacted residents all over the region, Mr Trezise said there is a silver lining to the extreme weather.

"It's a really good thing for summer. The dam will be nice and full," he said.

RELATED | WEATHER: Where we're at with this heavy, widespread rainfall

"Usually coming into summer the levels drop down and then the weeds start appearing. But that is unlikely to happen now.

"And hopefully we don't lose too many fish out the dam."

Mr Trezise said they usually lose a few barramundi from the lake, who's natural instinct it is to get to the salt water by jumping out over the walls.

"They're a smart animal. They know when it's going to rain like this and they hang out at the wall," he said.

"We won't know until the lake's open to the public how little or many (barramundi) have gone, but we want to let people know we'll be open again soon.

GAWB has advised Boynedale Bush Camp and the Lake Awoonga Recreational Areas are closed, however, Lookout One, near the Recreational Area, is open.