Golfers receive soggy welcome

CAMPERS were left with tents resembling small pools and caravanners had to wade through almost 30 centimetres of water to move their vehicles after a storm caused flash flooding at the Orange Showground yesterday afternoon.

It took just half an hour of rain for water to gush over the causeway, but it failed to dampen the spirits of a group of caravanners in town for the City of Orange Veterans’ Golf Classic or fruit pickers camping at the Colour City Caravan Park.

Pelagie Marquis’s tent avoided the downpour, but her friends’ tent nearby wasn’t so lucky.

Its owners were still at work when the storm struck so she and other campers helped relocate their water-soaked belongings.

“Everything inside is wet. There was another tent with 10cm [of water] inside,” she said.

Anne Jeffery of Newcastle escaped the worst of the flooding at her caravan site near the road, but said others near the drain weren’t so lucky.

“All their annexes were filled with water. When we were driving up we could see it [the storm] and as soon as we got to the [caravan park] office it started falling down,” she said.

Mrs Jeffery said she had noticed flooding at the showground on other occasions and believed the drainage needed to be improved.

Ben Chard from Lake Macquarie had just finished setting up the annexe on his van, one of about 20 at the showground, when the storm struck.

He had to wade through the water to move his van.

“It went for about half an hour and it [the water] got close to a foot [deep]. But a little bit of rain won’t upset me,” he said.

Susan Michilis was busy drying out her annexe’s groundsheet after she had to relocate her van away from the causeway.

“We were sitting right on it We thought we had water views,” she said.

Council spokesman Nick Redmond said there were long-term plans to fix the drainage at the showground, but no infrastructure would have withstood the downpour.

“Plans for drainage work in the [showground] master plan are priced at $750,000, but there is no timeframe of when the work would occur,” he said.

“It would deal with smaller showers, but there is not a drain you could build that could contain all the floodwater of today [Thursday].”

Mr Redmond said there was signage at the showground showing people were they shouldn’t park.

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