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Corinne Reside from Settlers Rest with a 5m roll of hay destroyed when the Swan River flooded part of their George St property up to fence height. Picture: ANITA McINNES

Flood damages other businesses

IT is not just grape growers having to deal with the after effects of the Swan River flood but other Swan Valley property owners are also counting the cost of the February 11 flood.

Corinne Reside from farm stay Settlers Rest in George St, West Swan said feed and top soil had been washed from their paddocks, fences destroyed, water troughs moved and 5m hay rolls destroyed.

The Reside family also have Off the Track horses and breed show ponies through their Leeara Park stud.

She said some of the horses and foals had been moved to top paddocks for hand feeding, which had already costing $400.

Others had been moved to another property.

They were also forced to buy feed for the farm stay animals including alpacas, sheep and a cow.

They were also having to hire machinery to clear debris caught on their paddock fences – this included material from paperbark trees and pine needles, which they had started to remove and stockpile to be burnt later.

The Swan River flooded on February 11 after much of the Avon River catchment and Swan Valley received about 144mm rain in about 24hr.

The heavy unseasonal rain and flooding caused an estimated $30 million damage and lost earnings for table and wine grape growers – some grape growers were not affected by the flooding but the rain caused the grapes to split making them unsellable.

The Premier Colin Barnett declared the area a natural disaster, which cleared the way for grape growers who had their vines flooded to be eligible for financial and council services as well as federal and state grants.

Mrs Reside, who remembered the Swan River flooding in January 2000, said she understood grape growers had lost a lot through the flood and deserved financial assistance but people with other businesses in the Swan Valley were unable to access any help.

Echo News understands it is only grape growers affected by the flood who can apply for assistance whereas grape growers who lost income due to splitting fruit are not eligible.

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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