Mayor Strelow on the week that's been and what's to come
ONE week after Cyclone Marcia wreaked havoc across the region, Mayor Margaret Strelow has given us her reflections on the achievements made and the challenges that still lay ahead.
Mayor Strelow said that while the recovery process at times felt overwhelming, she had been awed by the collective community reaction and the resilience shown by those struggling to get back to normal life.
"The past week has seen a mammoth collaborative effort from Council workers, the SES, QFES, Ergon, ADF and QPS," she said.
"From Westwood to Parkhurst, Marmor to Ridgelands, the entire community has shown what it is made of - uniting to get our beloved region back on track.
"I have been absolutely humbled by the kindness and generosity shown between people, and for the strength of crews who have worked tirelessly to restore services.
"Vital community services and road access to most areas was restored to most areas in this first week, with Ergon hoping to have most homes restored by mid next week.
"We have seen our normal outdoor staff numbers grow from 300 to 800 workers with 110 trucks constantly collecting rubbish and debris.
However, the Mayor said that there was still a huge road to recovery ahead, with many people still without power and waiting clean-up.
"We really feel for those who are still without power, especially in an age that is so reliant on mod cons for everyday living.
"At times the task seems overwhelming - we see the piles of rubbish and debris collected from the trucks and think we have made huge progress, but you only have to drive through the streets to see how much is still left to do.
"We also have to think forward and start planning for the recovery so that the economic effects are minimised, while also memorialising all that we have been through.
"Plans are underway for a recovery event on Friday 13 March to coincide with a visit from the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
"We have started thinking about how best to memorialise the beautiful trees that were not only lost, but were sacrificed bearing the brunt of the cyclonic winds.
"We are already discussing options to utilise fallen timber from the Historic Botanic Gardens in a number of ways.
"The tragic event has really brought out the best in people and I hope that Rockhampton will retain this community spirit well into the future.