#Flood victims speak out about destruction to livelihoods

Mr Dave van Vywer, an Eastleigh business owner, speaking out at the meeting on February 1 which was held to address the concerns of those affected by the November 9 floods.

Over 100 concerned community members and business owners affected by the November 9 floods floods came together at a public meeting to voice their concerns and discuss a way forward.

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The meeting, held on February 1 and hosted by Clr Bill Rundle of ward 19, was aimed at addressing the floods and the damage caused by the floods.

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“We have been dealing with the floods for the past six years and the floods which occurred in November were rock bottom for Edenvale,” said Clr Rundle.

Mr Geoff Bierman raises his concerns at the meeting.

Mr Geoff Bierman raises his concerns at the meeting.

He said people’s homes and livelihoods were destroyed in a matter of hours.

He said the meeting gave the individuals the opportunity to discuss what they were unhappy about.

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At the meeting, a number of businesses owners from the Eastleigh area, one of the hardest hit areas in Edenvale during the floods, spoke about how the floods had destroyed their livelihoods.

The NEWS reported in November that these businesses are facing uncertainty and possible closure as a result of the damage caused by the floods.

Several business owners then shared their stories of the damages caused to their businesses.

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Mr Geoff Bierman, a business owner in Fountain Road, said at the meeting that his business was flooded with water two metres high during the flood.

Ward 19's Clr Bill Rundle.

Ward 19’s Clr Bill Rundle.

He said because of the floods, he lost everything but luckily he has been able to rebuild his business.

Mr Martin Cornelius, another Eastleigh business owner, said he believes the stormwater system could not cope with the amount of water that night, which contributed to the flooding.

“We need to take action. We are permanently flooded,” said Mr Cornelius.

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“I will walk the streets of Edenvale to get the people together to take a stance against this,” said Mr Dave van Vywer, another concerned business owner in Eastleigh.

He said following the floods he becomes worried when it rains.

Edenvale resident Ms Angela Caetano said she had very little left in her house following the floods.

Ms Angela Caetano speaks out at the February 1 meeting. At the back is Clr Bill Rundle.

Ms Angela Caetano speaks out at the February 1 meeting. At the back is Clr Bill Rundle.

She said a lot of people near the Harmeila Spruit have lost everything.

Clr Heather Hart of ward 18 said the flooding in Edenvale was a result of the combined water from the surrounding areas, Greenstone, Meadowdale and Tunney, coming to Edenvale and Edenvale not being able to cope with such a large volume of water.

She said if there had been better stormwater infrastructure installed in Edenvale, the damage caused by the floods could have been reduced.

She believes that even if the correct infrastructure had been installed and maintained there still would have been flooding because of the volume of water which passed through Edenvale, however this would have been reduced with better infrastructure.

Clr Heather Hart speaking to the community at the meeting.

Clr Heather Hart speaking to the community at the meeting.

“We need the community to speak up. They have a voice louder than the councillors,” said Clr Hart.

At the end of the meeting it was decided that one of the options to consider was for the affected group to obtain a mandamus order.

Clr Simon Lapping of ward 17 said just as residents are obligated to pay the municipality for services, the municipality is obligated to act positively and provide services to its community members.

Clr Rundle said a subcommittee will be formed after the meeting and will include people who indicated they were interested in serving on this committee when signing the petition calling for council to take action.

Watch the day after the floods:

Stephan Lehman

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