By Patrick Avenell
Elton Cummings has a saying: “if a frog pees in Lismore there’s a good chance it will flood”. Despite his sense of humour, the Bi-Rite Electrical member and proprietor of five stores in northern New South Wales admits recent flooding is costing his business time and money.
Over the past week, Cummings stores in Yamba and Grafton have been affected by inclement weather.
“We have had six days where the road hasn’t been able to come in at Yamba from the two flood events,” Cummings told Current.com.au, speaking from his Ballina store. “People can’t come in and delivery can’t come in — you can’t get in to Yamba — it’s closed.
“Every time the river floods, the water comes over the roads you need to get into town.”
Cummings has instituted flood contingency plans the three stores in his chain most susceptible to flooding: Yamba, Grafton and Lismore. Over the past week, two of these stores had to activate these plans.
“Yamba is the main one and Grafton was affected because they packed up earlier this month when we had the first flood. The Grafton store had to pack everything up on and be on standby in case the levy went over.”
While there was no damage to the store or to stock, Cummings said flooding is causing “a lot of inconvenience and time — it’s costly”.
Although his stores were being directly affected by natural disasters, Cummings said he was more concerned for those in southeast Queensland, specifically Gympie, where the Mary River peaked at 18.4 metres overnight, according to the ABC.
"There are some businesses in Mary Street that have been inundated," Gympie mayor Ron Dyne said on the ABC. "Those businesses on River Road and One Mile have been inundated at the lower height.
"I'm relieved that it didn't get to 19 metres. I would have been even more relieved if it had only got to 10."
When Current.com.au contacted the Harvey Norman in Gympie, we were redirected to the Maroochydore outlet, where we told that due the Bruce Highway being cut off, that store has been unable to open.