When 100mm of rain bucketed down in just one hour in the Stoke-Richmond area on April 21 this year, a number of small to medium businesses in the Wakatu Industrial Estate were particularly hard hit. This week, reporters Sally Kidson and Tarranum Shaikh went back to the area to see how they are getting on.
Brad’s out of the flood
Walking into Brad’s Smash Repairs you can still smell the aroma of fresh paint lingering on the walls. Three months after the April floods hit the Wakatu Industrial Estate, the business is back on track. Owner Brad Kelling said from the outset he picked up what remained of his workshop and was “just getting on”.
“At the moment I’m working seven days a week. I rarely get away by 7pm. Everybody had the same problem. We just took it upon ourselves to manage the whole thing. We just got on and got it done.” They had the support of their customers.
“We’ve got a lot of clients that are sparkies and plumbers through our business. So we just rang people like that and they just jumped on it. I think there’s a certain amount of compassion in the community.”
Brad said publicity following the flood meant he had received business from people who wanted to help. “It’s the busiest it has ever been.”
He said the businesses in Wakatu Estate were a small community and relied on each other, so when most were flood-hit it had been hard. The company had an estimated $200,000 to $300,000 damage in the flood, which included a near total loss of machinery, customers’ cars, machinery, plant computers ruined by the water and silt that rushed into the workshop. They still have a small backlog of work, but were about a week away from getting rid of that. The new office is just a reminder to Brad of the immense strain he had in the past three months.
“If anyone had said to me the Friday before it happened ‘Are you prepared for the flood?’ that would’ve been the last thing I would’ve imagined.”