Nymboida Canoe Centre stands as hub for devastated community
DESPITE rumours to the contrary, the Nymboida Camping and Canoeing Centre is still standing, bar one shed, and is acting as a focal point for the community coming to terms with the damage and preparing for another difficult day today.
Clarence Valley Council general manager Ashley Lindsay, along with other council staff, Red Cross volunteers and the Department of Family and Community Services, made a trip to Nymboida on Sunday under Rural Fire Service escort for a community meeting to bring the residents up to speed with the situation.
"There were more than 100 people at the meeting where we reassured them the government agencies have a particular process they need to follow and they will get that under way once the area is safe for the inspectors to come out and assess the damage," he said.
"There was quite a mixture of people's moods and reactions, some people were still in shock, I think, from what they've just experienced.
"It was good for everyone to come together and share their experiences."
Mr Lindsay said with the area still an active fire zone, there was no clear idea of the extent of the damage.
Despite no official word on the number of houses lost, Mr Lindsay said there were some heartbreaking stories of loss from the fires.
"There were stories of some people who tried to defend their property and couldn't," he said.
"One man and his wife had a wine cellar under the house so he and his wife and their animals took shelter in the cellar and when they thought it was safe to come up they came up and found the whole house burnt to the ground."
Arriving at the Nymboida Canoe Centre with three loads of donated supplies and food, Mr Lindsay said the site was a hub for the community and a central point for information to be distributed to residents.
Describing the journey in and out of Nymboida, Mr Lindsay said the scene resembled a war zone.
"As we were going out, there were fires still burning on the side of the road and as we were leaving two trees fell on the road behind us," he said.
"With conditions deteriorating again Tuesday people can't be complacent."