Hold the phone! No more volunteers ... for now
  • Thursday 20 January 2011

Councils adjacent to the Sunshine Coast are now reporting that their volunteer needs have diminished substantially.

This weekend will also see hundreds of local residents in each stricken town and city front up to help.

In some cases, even interstate travellers are flowing in to offer assistance.

In such a scenario, these locations’ ability to administer volunteers from further afield are virtually impossible at this time.

As a result, Sunshine Coast Council requests that local residents wishing to volunteer hold off until at least next weekend, as vital works are completed.

Volunteers will again be mobilised at a time in the near future, but other priorities are in place at this time.

Councils such as Brisbane, Gympie, Moreton, Ipswich, Somerset, Toowoomba and Lockyer are presently shifting to immediate requirements for council vehicles such as trucks with specialist personnel.

To date, Sunshine Coast Council has supplied trucks and crews to Brisbane City Council to help with parks and gardens restoration along with clean-up trucks and crews; it has also requested engineers for bridge assessments, who will subsequently meet similar requests from Somerset Regional Council.

Two crews are repairing roads in the southern end of Gympie Regional Council’s area; environmental health officers are currently operating in Ipswich and Western Downs Regional Council area including Dalby; local laws officers are helping out at Ipswich and Gympie; emergency coordination officers are expected in Lockyer Valley; while an urgent request for trucks and loaders at Toowoomba Regional Council will shortly be met.

At the same time, council is steadily meeting our local road repair targets; has had landslips visited by geotechnical personnel with situation reports due shortly; and parks, gardens and forest trails are being assessed and beach clean-ups continue.

Mayor Bob Abbot said the Coast’s volunteer response said so much about what makes our region so special.

“We have all witnessed the devastation in places like the Lockyer Valley, where so many people have lost everything,” he said.

“It is also a fabulous thing to see so many local people put their hands up to volunteer, even when they know it can be hard, often dirty work.

“But we have to be mindful that many of these areas are still in a state of shock, still assessing the full meaning of what has become of their homes and communities, and are not yet in a perfect position to tell us all their needs,” the mayor said.

“Nor do they have all the facilities and people in place where arriving volunteers can be coordinated and put to work.”

“Please be patient while these plans are worked out and we will advise the best course of action at that time.”