Flood-ravaged communities tackle mental illness

The January floods were an event few in the Lockyer Valley will forget, but as the community rebuilds, serious, long-term effects such as mental illnesses are emerging among flood survivors.

The Australian spirit: Grantham rebuild

The small flood ravaged town of Grantham, which laid dormant for over half a year, is now alive with construction workers, roadwork crews and earth-moving equipment as the majority of the township is moving to a safer and higher ground.

Deputy Mayor of the Lockyer Valley and Chair of the Recovery Committee, Graham Moon, explains the move of old Grantham to Upper Grantham on higher ground is an innovative initiative put forward by the Lockyer Valley Council.

“We were prepared to do it because we felt it was essential to be done [for the people of Grantham],” said Cr Moon. The move was expected to cost $2.25 million, which the Lockyer Valley Council is paying for through funding from the Queensland Recovery Authority and the Federal Funding Authority.

The majority of Grantham community members support the rebuild, which is a sure sign they are ready to move on and look towards the future.

Cr Moon says the division of new land within Upper Grantham will operate on a case-by-case basis. Residents with property in old Grantham have the option to exchange their original block of land that was affected by the disaster; for a similar sized block within Upper Grantham.

“If a larger block is desired it will involve a money settlement that favors the land owner or resident,” said Cr Moon.

Local convenience shop owner and Grantham resident, Sandy Halliday, speculates the re-population of Grantham could take up to five years.

Mrs Halliday and her husband Mike own the original Lucky 7 convenience store, which was damaged beyond repair by the massive wall of water that swept through the town.

Thanks to the Lockyer Valley Council, the convenience store is operating in a demountable building and negotiations are underway between Mr and Mrs Halliday and the local council in regards to the rebuild of the store.

The Halliday’s believe around 70 per cent of the population moved away after the floods, which has severely hurt their business.

Although the rebuild has just begun, it gives the community a sense of hope, safety and a focus for the future.