Council counts flood cost

THE cost of repairs to the Derwent Valley Council Chambers in Circle Street could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars after a burst water pipe flooded part of the building forcing its closure for at least two weeks.

Council staff were confronted with a water-logged workplace on Monday morning last week.

The burst water pipe was inside a second-floor wall and it is estimated it had been leaking for at least six hours before it was discovered.

The water caused damage to the lower floor ceiling space, damage to ground floor offices and the council’s customer service area.

 Derwent Valley Mayor Michelle Dracoulis said the staff had rallied, showing great resilience and flexibility while contractors and staff hurry to resolve various issues.

“Thanks to the hard work being done by those who rushed to help from early Monday morning, great progress is being made with the affected areas having already been stripped and alternative arrangements being put in place to ensure continuity of service to the community,’’ Mrs Dracoulis said.

“We have people working on restoring technology that was impacted and liaising with our insurance company to get the damage assessed and have us up and running again quickly.’’

Most office-based staff worked from home all last week and again this week.

“Our customer team has

set up elsewhere in the building where they are taking calls, answering enquiries and taking payments for council services over the phone,’’ Mrs Dracoulis said.

“Works are under way to establish a new customer service area at the rear of Circle Street with the intention to reopen to the public as soon as possible.

“The location of upcoming council meetings is also likely to be affected.

“With building rectification works under way in the courthouse, council meetings had been moved to our social rooms until the end of the year.

“With this latest incident, that may have to change for our next couple of meetings to accommodate the other moves required until we can get the building back up and operational on a permanent basis.”

Council chambers remain closed and work is continuing to find a temporary service area for face-to-face transactions.

A council spokesman said the insurance company was still assessing the damage and cost.

Council can be contacted by phone on 6261 8500 or email