When rain started bucketing down in Gympie on Friday 18 February, Stephen Wetton, owner of Scubas Car Wash, knew it was going to flood.
Disaster recovery grant helps Gympie car wash business get back on the road
What he didn’t expect was how high the flood was going to peak.
“Scubas Car Wash was completely submerged by flood waters, it went over the apex of the roof,” he said.
“What made this flood so much bigger was we had all the water coming from the Sunshine Coast Hinterland but we also had water coming from the east as well.
“Everyone knew it was going to flood but they were only hoping it would be 17 metres. Once it hits 18 metres it gets into the main street, and it peaked at almost 23 metres.”
Stephen and his wife Kirsti were able to access an Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Recovery Grant administered by the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) to help rebuild their business once flood waters receded.
“The best way to handle situations like this is to find a silver lining,” he said.
“We decided to close the business for a couple of months and use this time to identify opportunities to rebuild and flood proof the business.”
As a result of being inundated, Scubas Car Wash suffered significant damage to over $600,000 worth of equipment.
“We lost our automatic car wash, two dog washes and vacuums which will need to be replaced. In addition to the equipment, the labour costs alone will be more than $80,000,” he said.
“The whole building needs an engineer’s certificate as the roof has been damaged from rising debris under the roof.”
Stephen says that giving in was not an option and without the Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Recovery Grant, being able to re-build their business would have been a long and stressful process.
“We wouldn’t have been able to recover without the assistance of the grant. We would have had to lean on friends and family for support,” he said.
“We were pretty determined to recover, there wasn’t an option to quit.”
While Scubas Car Wash is still in recovery mode, Stephen has big plans for the re-opening of the business which he hopes will be by May.
Disaster recovery grants and loans are available for eligible primary producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations affected by the South East Queensland Rainfall and Flooding, 22 February – 5 April 2022.
QRIDA administers financial assistance to disaster affected primary producers, businesses and non-profit organisations under the joint Commonwealth / Queensland Government funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018.