Flood victims still waiting as Dungog council battles insurer over Alison Court

The units of Alison Court assisted living facility were badly damaged in the Dungog superstorm. Image suppliedQuestions remain over flood death

DUNGOG mayor Harold Johnston has admitted he wouldn’t let his mother live in the low-lying units at Alison Court, fearing the risk of future floods too high.

Dungog council is yet to make a decision about the long-term future of the community housing complex that was inundated with water during April’s super storm.

Resident Colin Webb drowned during the disaster which saw 18 of the 20 units severely damaged by water.

Four months on, Cr Johnston said Alison Court was ‘‘still a huge problem’’ and things had ‘‘not progressed very far’’.

Like several Dungog residents, the council is locked in a battle with its insurer, State Wide Mutual, about whether the damage to the complex was caused by storm water or flood water.

Seventeen residents are still living in temporary accommodation. Resident Jean Robertson organised a meeting with council officers and Cr Johnston on site this week.

‘‘We just want to know what is going on,’’ she said.

Cr Johnston said nothing could be finalised until the insurer made a final decision on the council’s claim and they were waiting for the results of a third hydrologist report.

‘‘Up to now the insurer has been making noises that the decision will not be favourable,’’ he said.

‘‘We have to wait until a final outcome before making a decision that will obviously take into account future risk at the site.’’

Alison Court apartments which were inundated with flood waters from the storm water channel in the middle of the paddock in Dungog. The units in the foreground had water rise up to their ceiling. Photo: Janie Barrett

If the insurance claim is approved, council plans to advertise a tender to repair the buildings. The other option is to seek state and federal government funding to assist with the repairs.

Asked if he thought the site was safe for elderly residents to live, Cr Johnston said the council had not formally discussed the issue.

‘‘My personal opinion is that there are some of the lower-lying units, that if it was my mother I wouldn’t be happy to have her in there,’’ he said.

‘‘Some people are not as mobile as they could be and I don’t think we should put our older, valuable people at risk.’’

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