On 17 March this year, fast-moving flood waters swept across the Gemfields, south-west of Emerald, leaving many residents of Sapphire and Rubyvale to pick up the pieces.
Council’s Human and Social Recovery team were on the ground to assist and have continued to work with the communities worst affected.
A core team of council officers joined 15 residents this week to listen to their stories and learn more from their experiences.
‘The flooding event in March was unlike anything anyone had seen before, and the communities stories and insights will be a valuable source of information for our work dealing with flooding there, and across the region,’ General Manager Communities John McDougall said.
‘Reliving the event was no doubt a big ask for the community, but in doing so our staff have all taken on board the learnings, and we thank the Gemfields community for this.’
Rubyvale resident Kim Tompson, who is also a member of the Human and Social Recovery Group, said she thought it was a really positive meeting.
‘The residents that came, I think we all felt it went really well,’ she said.
‘We were all given the chance to speak and everyone felt really comfortable in the space. I was impressed with how it was orchestrated. It was just about starting the conversation.’
Council will take the community’s insights from the conversation back to an internal group of technical and non-technical project managers for a debriefing on Monday next week.
The knowledge shared will be used to inform a range of future council projects and works, with council teams back in the Gemfields community to continue the conversation around flood mitigation in just a few weeks.
‘Council was grateful for the opportunity to speak with the community, and better understand more about what occurred, and how we can use that information to inform a broader suite of council work that will look at how we deal with flood, if and when it happens in the Gemfields,’ Mr McDougall said.
If you or someone you know is in need of information or support, please contact the Emerald Neighbourhood Centre on (07) 4982 1696.
If you would like more information about how to deal with emergencies and natural hazards when they happen in your community, please visit council’s emergency management dashboard.