Unit block faces staggering bill in wake of deluge
INUNDATION of a Mount Coolum apartment block basement carpark has resulted in damages that will cost millions of dollars to rectify.
Insurers were calculating the final bill after Wednesday night's storm.
The 24 residents of the 13 units in the Nirvana Luxor Resort faced a lengthy separation from their units after Sunshine Coast Council determined water that flooded the carpark was contaminated and could not simply be pumped into stormwater drains.
Body corporate chairman Keith Symonds said it was still very early days in determining both the extent of damage and the length of time before residents could return.
He said the basement water which filled the 2.1-metre-high carpark, pool and storage rooms had to now be pumped into trucks and transported to a decontamination plant at Ipswich.
"We're not sure how long it will take. It's going to take a considerable time to drain," Mr Symonds said.
He expected sums in the order of $1 million to $2 million would be involved with each truckload costing $8000.
Unit owners could not return until the basement was drained, and the building's power unit replaced.
Four vehicles remained under water as well as the storage areas holding residents' property and the pool pump room.
Mr Symonds said the flooding raised issues around potential impacts from the approval of an estate on raised fill to the north of the unit complex and management of water from a drainage canal combined with flows off Mount Coolum and the impact of a king tide.
"Unless it's fixed this is going to happen on a regular basis with global warming," he said.
Mr Symonds said water in Tanah St at its peak had reached half a metre high, raising it above the level of the raised resort carpark entrance.
Once it exceeded that level, he said the whole street was effectively emptying into the carpark.
A number of other homes in the street had also been damaged.
Mr Symonds had been about to go to bed Wednesday night when he checked the heavy rain from his balcony, saw water gushing down Tanah St and realised another 10cm rise would put water into the basement.
He said he began banging on doors to get people up to get their cars out but was unable to wake one household that now has two vehicles under water.
Flooding entered the pool area with the pool now half full of mud, poured down through air vents filling the pool room until its doors burst from the pressure, and opening another entrance for water into the basement.
Mr Symonds said the body corporate had spent a fortune on a pumping station for the basement.
"We'd just got the building super-sorted and organised," he said.
Residents have all found alternative accommodation and were resigned to a long wait.
Kim Martin was full of praise for Mr Symonds' efforts to warn them of the impending danger.
"Keith knocked on all our doors," she said.
"We were knee deep in water getting the cars out.
"The SES guys were great too. It's over and we're OK. It's not as bad as those who have lost their homes to fire and flood."