'My house is going to fall': last-ditch effort too late to save Narelle's home

CHANNELLING HER ANGER: Cracks are appearing in Narelle Garlick's home after flooding in 2010. Photo: Steve Gosch 0512sgflood3

CHANNELLING HER ANGER: Cracks are appearing in Narelle Garlick's home after flooding in 2010. Photo: Steve Gosch 0512sgflood3

WIDENING work to the east Orange channel has come too late for Narelle Garlick, who faces the possibility of watching her McLachlan Street home fall down around her.

Orange councillors voted last week to award more than $750,000 to Central West Civil to change the shape of the channel between Byng and Summer streets to increase its capacity. 

The channel walls would also be sealed in a bid to address erosion.

Council has come under fire concerning the channel after flash floods in 1999 and 2010 devastated backyards and homes.

Two doors down from the east Orange channel, Ms Garlick was marooned in her home on Boxing Day in 2010, but it was not until she had hail damage repaired two weeks ago when she realised the damage the floodwater had done.

“It was flowing under my house,” she said.

“They pulled off the wall to repair the hail damage and I could see the dirt under the house had disappeared, there was mildew on the ground and the piers had dropped away.”

She said the oldest part of her house had been progressively sinking for the past 12 months, taking the renovated part with it and causing significant cracks.

But despite being covered for flood damage, NRMA Insurance has refused her application to repair the damage.

“They said it’s the age of my house and if I wanted to prove it was the water, I would have to pay a building engineer $700 to fight it,” she said.

“The flood was three years ago - how can it survive for 109 years and all of a sudden, it sinks?

“That’s just a joke.”

Unable to afford the fee or the repairs without insurance, Ms Garlick did not know whether the channel widening would help her.

“The damage is already done,” she said.

“My house is just going to fall - I’m devastated.”

The widening work will include two stages, both to be completed this financial year - stage one will set the council back $448,000, while stage two will cost $303,825.

Gross pollutant traps were cleared at Dalton Street and Margaret Stephenson Park in February, while further work is yet to be done on the channel’s detention basins.

Orange mayor John Davis said many of the homes in the affected area were a century old and owners would not be allowed to build on those blocks by today’s standards.

“This work won’t eliminate all the risk of flooding, but it will reduce it,” he said.

NRMA Insurance was contacted for comment.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop