An epic makeover
ELEVEN months have passed since Emerald's Epic All Sports was inundated by fetid flood waters, and despite not being able to pinpoint an exact grand reopening date, committee president Don Gilmore promises the club will bounce back "bigger and better".
In late December 2010, waters rose to record levels at the multi-sports complex, submerging the fields under about 2m of putrid liquid, and for the first time in a 40-year history, seeping through the clubhouse at a height of 800mm.
"Inside there was no structural damage, but virtually the whole place was written off, nothing survived, and all our contents were lost," Mr Gilmore said.
Despite still waiting for insurance payments to be finalised, he remained understanding of the mammoth job faced by insurers and hoped the horizon marking the end of what has been a tough year sat just around the bend.
"With what happened in Queensland, and how the floods spread and then Cyclone Yasi came and the assessors had to be everywhere. I can imagine those assessors had files that were two-foot thick," Mr Gilmore said.
Extensive work has been completed to improve the multiple fields that suffered damage from two flood events.
"The ovals sunk, there was a lot of subsidence and the cricket pitches were severely damaged," Mr Gilmore said.
"It's been levelled now, and while not quite finished, all the major work has been done. We're confident that it will drain. Ironically, we're now just waiting for a bit of rain to see how that works.
"Tony Simons and Simon's Contractors did a great job… we should have a really nice field with pop-up irrigation that's going to be very well maintained."
Mr Gilmore said the goal was to become one of the Central Highlands' premier multi-sporting complexes.
His promise of a new and improved clubhouse will sit well with dedicated members and others in the community looking for a great venue.
"The whole place has been stripped and cleared, everything will be new," Mr Gilmore said.
"The back section of the club had never really been finished ever since it opened in 2002, but we'll now turn it into a lounge and seating area where people can eat and have a drink in comfort.
"Unfortunately I can't say exact timing… but we are opening and we are opening bigger and better.
"We need to formally thank all the people that helped us out.
"I've had a couple guys on the committee, and a couple guys off the committee, that have really helped me enormously. I think I would have left town if I hadn't had people helping me out.
"We've received funding from the State Government through sport and rec and their fight back plan, from Woolworths, McDonalds, Blackwater Workers Club, even a sports club in Darwin - it's all been fantastic."