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Top End Doctor - 19. Dr Chapter 19

Five days later, with all roads in the community clear of fallen trees and rubbish, the yacht set off for Darwin after collecting Mr & Mrs Harcourt, Ms Anders and Mr & Mrs Long, who would be staying overnight with us on the yacht and we arrived at Cullen Bay in Darwin at 1 pm.

For the rest of the afternoon, Toby and I remained on the yacht, while Uncle James and Tim were busy with a number of things, and our five guests went into town to do some shopping.

After a very early dinner, we all headed to the Darwin Turf Club, where the meeting will be held, and where Uncle James had added cocktail snacks to the help with keeping everyone happy. We arrived an hour after Harry and Annie, who had gone early to make final checks on the venue, and they have the list of property owners, who are the only ones permitted to attend this meeting.

By the time we entered the function room, there was already over 100 people in attendance, and Harry issues us with a name tag, which had a number on the bottom right corner, which were the same for our family, and Annie took us to our seats, which are in the front row.

On the low stage area there is a long table with seven chairs, and slowly one by one those chairs were filled including Annie Long and Ms Anders. When Harry and George were the last to sit down on the stage, people began to quieten down, and Ms Anders stood up and approached the podium.

“Good evening and thankyou all for coming this today, to this extra ordinary meeting of the Dundee Progress Association. It is good to see that nearly every property owner in Dundee Beach, Dundee South, Dundee Forest, Dundee Downs and Bynoe has attended tonight.

I believe that only 20 have not attended tonight and most of them have sent their apologies. For those who so not know me, my name is Gill Anders, the current president of the association, and with me on the stage are the current committee members, all except one have been on the committee for many years now, and it was their decision to have this meeting, to discuss our community, after it been badly damaged from the cyclone last week.

Firstly, I wish to thank the 2 ½ dozen people who not only rode out the cyclone, but have spent a week cleaning up a lot of the mess that the cyclone left behind, before being transported back to Darwin by yacht, the same yacht which has provided us with emergency accommodation and meals and additional hands to help with the cleanup.

Members, I wish to introduce to you Mr Timothy Hope and Dr James Shaw, who are the owners of the said yacht, and also for the past five years they have owned property in our community,” Mrs Anders said, and she indicated in our direction and both Tim and Uncle James stood up and turned to face the crowd, before sitting down again.

“Some of you may recognise them for being in the media recently, as they have started a medical mission to remote communities in the North Territory. Over the past two weeks, these gentlemen and their staff have made a huge contribution to the community, with man and women power, as well as providing the accommodation.

The committee wishes to also recognise their future contribution to the recover project for our community, with planning already started to replace a lot of the community buildings, and to build more facilities. When you entered this function room, you would have received a list, which is a survey list of each property in the five areas of our community, mentioning if buildings have received minor or major damage or have been totally destroyed.

As most of you are aware, both bridges on Fog Bay Road, have been badly damaged and will take some months to be repaired, hence the road is closed at the start of Fog Bay Road on the corner of Cox Peninsular Road, and at the moment the only way to our community is via water, as the airfield is also out of action.

We have managed to clear all rubbish and fallen trees from all roads in all five areas, and at the moment, Dundee Beach and Dundee South from the corner of Namarada and Launceston Roads are without power, but there is power on properties on Launceston Road.

We have requested and received State of Emergency status for our region, so as of next week, we will be entering each property in Dundee Beach and Dundee South, where the majority of damage is located, to collect any personal belongings and furniture, which will be stored at the lodge, and remove any buildings that have been totally destroyed, and everything will be recorded and photographed.

If you wish to request that we search for anything in particular then please tell us what they are at the end of the meeting, as only the recovery crew will permitted into the area, while the cleanup continues, for Health and Safety reasons.

George & Gladys Harcourt and Harry and Annie Long, Mr Hope and Dr Shaw, their yacht crew and I, are the only residents that are permitted to remain, as we supervise the cleanup, and the owners of Crab Claw Resort and Sandpalms Roadhouse who are not here tonight, as the remain on their properties for security reasons. Does anyone have any questions?” Ms Anders stated.

A gentleman on stage stood up, “Yes, I am Brian Hunter, I was one of the unlucky ones to be home at Dundee Forest, when the cyclone hit, and I was part of the team to help with the cleanup, I wish to thank Mr Hope and Dr Shaw for all of their assistance with getting our community cleaned up, and can you tell the community, what plans the committee have for the future of our community,” Mr Hunter said before sitting down again.

Mr Long stood and approached the podium, “Thanks for your comments Brian and for all of your hard work last week, I must admit that we all worked very well for the initial first few days after the cyclone passed us, and yes it was quite terrifying too.

With all committee members, there when the cyclone struck, we all know what the place looked like the next morning, and although all the roads are now clear, and all the surveying has been completed, we still have a long way to go.

Next week, we will have trucks, front end loaders and cleanup crews working to cleanup the demolished buildings, with 90% of buildings in Dundee Beach and Dundee South beyond repair, including the few private accommodation places.

Although they received minor damage, the Lodge and the Holiday park are without power, and at the moment is only been used for our meals and briefings each day, with Sandpalms Motel now providing us with meals and accommodation. The yacht has been making trips to Darwin for supplies for Crab Claw and Sandpalms, and the motel will be home for the cleanup crews, that will arrive by barge along with the heavy vehicles.

In regards to the future, well it has been suggested that we take this opportunity to make our community a tourism destination, already plans are in place to improve and extend the airfield, a new and better boat ramp is to be build further downstream, and improvements to Fog Bay Road.

Better facilities are to be constructed, thanks to a generous benefactor. This will include an undercover swimming pool and recreation shed a small airfield terminal, a community centre, and facilities for all emergency services vehicles, semi industrial sheds and small commercial business shops for local industries.

I am pleased to announce that Dr Shaw has agree to establish a small medical facility in Dundee, so we will have our own doctor,” Mr Long announced, and Brian Hunter stood, “I would like to lease one of the industrial sheds for my business too please,” he said before sitting down again. “Well it appears we already have two tenants, which is a good start.

It was suggested the other day, that with marketing Dundee Beach as a tourism destination, we will be able to have more local businesses established, with more Bed and Breakfast accommodation, and things like quad bike beach tours, scuba diving and snorkelling tours, fishing tours, and things like that.

Mr Hope and Dr Shaw have purchased a number of blocks of land and they will build, all of the facilities that have mentioned so far, and I am sure that will be just the start. With that in mind, it has suggested that we change our status from an unincorporated locality, to our own local government Community Council.

This would mean paying property rates so that we can employ people to run our community, with regular rubbish collect services, improvements to roads, and to kept he buildings that are about to be built operational,” Mr Long announced.

“Mr Long, I wish to propose that we accept this recommendation that the Committee of the Progress Association, start looking into and take steps towards making our community into a Community Council,” Once man called out from the back of the room, “I second that motion,” another man called out.

“Very well, we have a motion and a seconder, for the committee of the association to look into and take steps towards making our community into a Community Council, I call for a vote on this proposal, say aye, if you agree,” Harry said, and there was a very loud ‘aye’ from everyone in the room.

“Those that appose to the motion, say neigh?” Harry asked, and there was a small group that said neigh, “Please raise your hands if you said neigh, so we can get an accurate number for our records,” Harry asked, and a few moments later he returned to the podium, after a quick chat with two committee members.

“The number of neighs is 32, the ayes have it, the motion is carried, I now open the floor for any questions,” Harry said and he sat down again, and Ms Anders stood again.

“Madam President, if our property has severely damaged and we don’t want to return and wish to sell our properties, what options do we have?” one lady asked, “A very good question, we will have to do some research on that, so please leave your contact information with us at the end of the meeting, Ms Anders replied.

“If I may Ms Anders,” Tim said as he stood up, “For the next 48 hours, anyone who owns a property on the east side of Balanda Drive, west side of Namarada Drive, from Dundee Place to Prau Street, we will purchase the land, which is one of the worse hit areas, on the condition that we buy the properties at vacant land valuation,” Tim announced.

“I believe that includes your property Mary, so see Mr Hope after the meeting,” Ms Anders responded, and the lady sat down smiling. “How many properties is that? Can we afford that?” I heard Uncle James whisper to Tim, who smiled.

“We already own six of those blocks, and there are 17 more, of which 7 of them are vacant,” Tim whispered back, which meant they were only buying ten properties. After the meeting ended, Uncle James and we boys caught a taxi back to Cullen Bay, while Tim remained to talk to some of the people.

The next morning, as we arrived in the galley for breakfast, Tracy told us that everyone is in the dining room, and we headed there. “Good morning boys, now that you are here, we can let everyone know what happened after the meeting last night,” Tim began as we sat down.

Copyright © March 2020 Preston Wigglesworth. All Rights Reserved.
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Things are getting very interesting as they start moving forward with the plans to become a tourist destination. It seems like things might’ve been good for Tim as well after the meeting while he talked to the people who basically lost their homes to the cyclone. These properties will be additional buildings for business opportunities for the community.

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Great chapter, things are looking up for the community with them moving moving forward with plans to become a tourist destination.

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...Hmm I detect a small cliffie at the end and hope it is immediately resolved in the next chapter.

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There is apparently no mention of insurance payments in reference to the destruction caused by the storm(s). It would seem sensible that many structures be covered to a some small extent by insurance. Did I miss something?

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