'It was like Niagara Falls': Flood victim's home devastated

5th December 2017 10:50 AM
UPDATED 11:05 AM

MOOLOOLABA resident Eleanor Schulz is this morning sifting through the aftermath of what she likened to "Niagara Falls" in her yard which sent floodwaters pouring into her unit.

Her carpet has been ripped up already, in a bid to air out her ground floor Careela Street unit quicker, and she was now waiting for Suncorp assessors to do an inventory of the damage.

She was at work yesterday when a slow-moving rain system hammered into Mooloolaba, sending down masses of water in only a few hours.

Her neighbours rang her in the afternoon and warned her of the event underway.

Careela Street Mooloolaba. The home of Eleanor Schulz was inundated with flood water.
Careela Street Mooloolaba. The home of Eleanor Schulz was inundated with flood water. Lisa Grigg


When she got home the 64-year-old said she could swim in her kitchen, as water streamed over her retaining wall with enough force to break the block wall and flood her yard.

"It was like Niagara Falls," Ms Schulz recalled.

 

She said the water had been 2.5 feet high in her yard and 6-8 inches of water had gone through her unit, damaging furniture and destroying her computer and printer.

"It broke the retaining wall in the middle," Ms Schulz said.

 

 

Careela Street Mooloolaba. Eleanor Schulz surveys the aftermath of her home after it was inundated with flood water.
Careela Street Mooloolaba. The home of Eleanor Schulz was inundated with flood water. John McCutcheon

She said water had gushed under the fence and picked "everything up" as it was moving so fast.

The drainage in front of her unit was not enough to deal with the onslaught and water ran under the side fence and into the neighbours yard, where it smashed their retaining wall as well.

She said she'd been a "bit edgy" because of how much rain the region had already copped before yesterday, and she'd been home the last time her place flooded about five years ago.

 

Careela Street Mooloolaba. Eleanor Schulz surveys the aftermath of her home after it was inundated with flood water.
Careela Street Mooloolaba. Eleanor Schulz surveys the aftermath of her home after it was inundated with flood water. John McCutcheon

"A lot of it's in the garage," she said.

"I'll start sifting through it today.

"I can see water eight inches up the lounge. You could swim in the kitchen when I came home."

She was grateful for her contents insurance, and said Suncorp had organised accommodation for her for the next five days.

Her fridge and dishwasher were also being assessed, and she was hopeful some of her "good timber furniture" may not have to be thrown away.

 

Careela Street Mooloolaba. The Velo Project was inundated with flood water.
Careela Street Mooloolaba. The Velo Project was inundated with flood water. Lisa Grigg

"I never thought I would ever get flooded here," the resident of 12 years said, concerned about the cost she was up for to eventually replace her retaining wall.

She said rainwater often backed up and "rushes down" Ocean View Avenue during heavy weather events and believed the Sunshine Coast Council needed to consider a levee to protect her unit block and the neighbouring cafe and childcare centre.

"Something's not right," Ms Schulz said.

 

Careela Street Mooloolaba. The Velo Project was inundated with flood water.
Careela Street Mooloolaba. The Velo Project was inundated with flood water. Lisa Grigg

C and K Early Childhood Centre Mooloolaba assistant director Jamie Ellis said they'd evacuated the centre at about 2pm yesterday, as floodwaters rose rapidly.

"We had to," she said.

"The water came up so quick. We couldn't believe it."

She said the water gushed through the front door and flooded the yard, but thankfully didn't get into the downstairs area and kindergarten rooms.

"It was pretty intense," Ms Ellis said.

 

Careela Street Mooloolaba. The Velo Project was inundated with flood water.
Careela Street Mooloolaba. The Velo Project was inundated with flood water. Lisa Grigg

The Velo Project restaurant manager Lisa Grigg said about 15 staff had worked until nearly 8pm last night ripping up the floor and taking out destroyed furniture and a freezer after "40cm-50cm" of water washed through the venue.

She said the SES and firefighters had helped with the clean up.

Ms Grigg recalled telling customers to leave as waters began to rise, quickly getting above her knee.

 

Careela Street Mooloolaba. The Velo Project was inundated with flood water.
Careela Street Mooloolaba. The Velo Project was inundated with flood water. Lisa Grigg

"It was pretty crazy and it just happened so quickly, it came out of nowhere," she said.

The Velo Project was back open for business this morning serving plenty of customers.

Division 4 councillor John Connolly said the council had spent $1 million on works downstream to fix flows into the canal system, and over the next few months would be drawing up plans with the property owners to address the flooding issue upstream.

"The next step is to look at that corner," he said.

 

Careela Street Mooloolaba. Eleanor Schulz surveys the aftermath of her home after it was inundated with flood water.
Careela Street Mooloolaba. Eleanor Schulz surveys the aftermath of her home after it was inundated with flood water. John McCutcheon

He said there were about five "pinch points" in his division, and the council was eager to fix the Ocean View Avenue-Careela Street issue.

He said the goal was to install larger pipes in the easement between the childcare centre and The Velo Project to divert the water, as the current pipes were too small to manage the water run-off.