LAST week’s intense storms have left the Augusta-Margaret River Shire with an estimated clean-up bill topping $100,000.
By Monday the shire council had spent $88,000, including its own and contract resources, on the clean up. It expects to spend a further $12,000 this week.
So far shire equipment and plant operating costs have amounted to $16,000, $38,000 for contractors and $34,000 in staff wages, including overtime for out-of-hours roads clearing, a council spokesperson said.
Tuesday evening’s forecast intense storm last week caused less damage than the one on Sunday, June 10, although Western Power had to restore power to more than 6000 Augusta-Margaret River customers.
The power loss was reported by 7pm on the Tuesday, with some people in Witchcliffe without power for up to three days.
Only 30 wires appeared to have been brought down on?Tuesday compared with nearly 800 power lines, streetlight wires and individual customer service lines on the Sunday.
The Busselton-to-Margaret River transmission line was still being repaired last Thursday, with metropolitan staff sent down to assist crews in the Margaret River to Augusta area.
Margaret River SES received only three callouts on the Tuesday night, but Cape Leeuwin recorded a wind gust of 113kmh at 10.50pm.
The Department of Environment and Conservation closed several national parks in the South West for the sake of public safety on Tuesday last week. Its director of parks and visitor services, Peter Sharp, said DEC crews had assisted some communities in clearing trees that fell during the Sunday storm.
Augusta Margaret River Tourism Association assured potential visitors last week that access to the region had not been inhibited despite the storm activity.
Meanwhile, Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell has announced natural disaster assistance to help communities in the southern half of WA recover from the thunderstorms.
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“This event has been proclaimed an eligible disaster under the Western Australia Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements,” Mr Buswell said. “This funding assistance will help affected councils and communities recover from this storm damage as quickly as possible.”
The local government districts affected by the thunderstorms include those south of a line from Geraldton to Laverton to Forrest.