The Chronicle

Disaster relief plan

THE COST of repairing flood-damaged Clarence Valley roads is tipped to exceed $500,000, according to early Clarence Valley Council estimates.

Council operations manager Tim Jenkins said staff were still investigating exactly how much it will cost to complete the work, with an estimate expected by the end of the week.

He said once council had a firmer idea of the cost, it would approach the State Government about declaring parts of the district as a national disaster area, in order to secure funding for repairs.

Last week, the State Government declared the Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Nambucca, Kempsey, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Bourke council areas as natural disaster areas, allowing businesses, residents and councils to receive financial assistance.

At the time, State Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan said the declaration may be extended to other local government areas after assessments were carried out.

If disaster relief is approved for the Clarence Valley, council could apply for grants from the RTA to permanently restore roads and bridges to pre-disaster standards, with council expected to chip in the first $29,000.

Mr Jenkins said although it was too early to say exactly how much repairs would cost, he thought it would be about $500,000.

Most of the damage reported was south of Grafton, including a loss of bitumen at Six Mile Lane, and damage to roads and bridges towards Glenreagh.

If the area gets natural disaster declaration, residents and businesses may also be eligible for grants to repair damage.

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