GERALD Mayne is proving a man’s home is his castle, after spending the past five weeks ensuring his house will never be hit by floodwaters again.
The 84-year-old enlisted the help of contractors, tradesmen, family and friends to help him erect concrete tilt panels around his home, half a metre higher than the January flood level.
Mr Mayne said that when he bought his Crinum Cres property in 2000, the council was adamant water would never rise to its level.
Unfortunately they were wrong and Mr Mayne and his wife Faye watched floodwaters rise around their house twice in the past two years.
“Not being able to do anything about it was the worst part,” Mr Mayne said.
“We’ve had to shift twice now, it’s so frustrating.”
With this year’s floods being the last straw, Mr Mayne set out to do something about it.
“So many people say the government should do this or the council should do that – why don’t they do it themselves?” he said.
With help from contractor Pat McKay, concreters Evan Bennett and Andrew Zambelli and the Maynes’ grandson Ashley, the project was well on its way.
The concrete panels were poured and set before being erected and then placed in an 800mm trench around the perimeter of the home.
They were then concreted into the ground and joined together with Sikaflex to allow for expansion.
“It’s a new idea, but you’ve got to look after yourself,” he said.
The father-of-four said he wasn’t taking any more chances.
“There could be a flood next year or in the next hundred years.”
With 1700sq m to cover, the fence has been a mammoth project, but so far the three walls around the home have been completed.
Pat McKay was the brains behind the fence and said the next task would be to create an electronic and flood-proof gate.
“The gates will take a lot longer,” Mr McKay said.
Together Mr Mayne and Mr McKay have thought of everything, including how to get water out of the property.
They have constructed a concrete trough down the bottom corner of the fence, which will house a submersible pump that will push water back outside the fenceline.
Mr McKay said the fence would not alter the flow of water to the neighbouring properties in any way.
“If anything, the neighbour already has one wall up when they want to do their own flood-proof fence,” he said.
Mr Mayne said once the crew had finished the fence around his home they would start on his business, Cotton Growers Services, on Hospital Rd.
Once finished, Mr Mayne said the total cost of the fence would be about 9% of the value of his property, a small price compared to the 30% he has been told he would lose on the property if nothing was done to prevent future flooding.
With the Botanic Gardens just an arm’s length away from his property line, Mr Mayne said he and Faye had never thought about packing up and moving somewhere else.
“This is such a beautiful place,” he said.
“We hope to live out the rest of our lives here.”
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