Gympie Cats fight back as flood waters surge again

A NEWLY formed Gympie Cats AFL Club flood committee is enduring a baptism of fire as the organisation faced its second flood threat in less than four weeks yesterday.

The club was engulfed by floodwater during the Australia Day long weekend last month and the clean-up effort had only just neared completion in time for the weekend's sign-on before the Mary River again awoke from its brief slumber.

A low pressure system lingering over Queensland saw river levels rise rapidly as an already saturated catchment struggled to withstand the onslaught.

Gympie Cats flood committee spokesperson Tanya Hall said she and fellow volunteers hit the ground running in response to the threat.

 "We've been proactive this time around," she said.

 "We decided to take everything out of the clubhouse Monday."

Hall said the committee decided peace of mind was far more valuable than the inconvenience or time invested to evacuate the club.

"We didn't want to be caught out," she said. "It was important we got out there and saved what we could.

 "It's about getting ahead of the flood and having peace of mind so we aren't worrying."

Last month's flood, which rose to the very top of the Cats' clubhouse and turned the Six Mile Oval into a dam, was costly. Electrical equipment and club gear, totalling $85,000, was lost.

"What we have got we are really looking after," Hall said.

The committee has devised a plan to remove its most valuable assets out of harm's way. A shipping container is now loaded full of gear and taken to higher ground up near Gympie RSPCA.

Also helping the Cats shake off floodwater are modifications to its building.

"The changes made to the building have stood up really well to the floods we have had," Hall said.

"It's designed for floods and the only damage we had last month (to the structure itself) was a broken window."

The deluge relented briefly yesterday morning before another weather system from the west tracked its way towards the coast.

As Kidd Bridge again appeared likely to be submerged, Hall said the club kept one eye on flood updates.

"Hopefully it's not going to flood but we have volunteers keeping in touch with (the) council for the latest," she said.

"We're covering all bases and if it comes to it, we will head out and remove what's left."

Meanwhile, Gympie Cats is not letting the flood threat distract from laying the groundwork for a bumper season.

Players are still being sought for the under 8 and 10 age divisions in addition to U5 and 6 players in the Auskick program. All age groups remain based in Gympie through the season with no need to travel.


Story courtesy of Gympie Times

Gympie Cats flood committee members Tanya Hall and club vice-president Tim Topalov keep a watchful eye on Six Mile Oval yesterday as floodwaters again threatened. Craig Warhurst



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