Shock bill for emergency accommodation in flood

Reg and Peggy Hegarty are upset at having received a bill of seven hundred and fifty dollars for their time they spent at the Gunther Village in Gayndah. The elderly couple were evacuated from their home in North Bundaberg during the floods.
Reg and Peggy Hegarty are upset at having received a bill of seven hundred and fifty dollars for their time they spent at the Gunther Village in Gayndah. The elderly couple were evacuated from their home in North Bundaberg during the floods. Mike Knott

AN ELDERLY couple have been shaken by a bill of $750 for five days of emergency flood accommodation.

When Reg and Peggy Hegarty were displaced from their Lakes Retirement Village home of 10 years, they never expected what would follow.

The couple were evacuated to Oakwood State School, but were soon taken to the Friendly Society Private Hospital, with Mrs Hegarty requiring medical assistance.

As the Friendlies Hospital quickly filled with evacuees from Bundaberg Hospital, the couple were forced to seek alternate accommodation.

"We were given two options," Mr Hegarty said.

He said they were told they could go back to the evacuation centre or move to Gunther Village in Gayndah.

Mr Hegarty said he was advised by Kirsten Beyer at the Friendlies that they could move to Gunther Village.

"She told us to go to Gayndah rather than stay with lots of people," Mr Hegarty said.

"We said yes we were interested (in Gunther Village) as long as it didn't cost any money."

He said Ms Beyer informed them there was "no charge".

When the NewsMail contacted the Friendly Society Private Hospital yesterday Ms Beyer was on annual leave.

But Friendlies marketing manager Creina Lister said the couple were informed of the cost on their admission from the Friendlies and on arrival at Gunther Village.

Gunther Village manager Chantele Nelson believed the retirement facility went "well and truly up and beyond" for the Hegartys and should be compensated.

In a letter posted to the Hegartys, Ms Nelson wrote: "I feel I have been more than generous charging you $150 per night ..".

The letter went on to say: "... you have placed me in the unfortunate position of having to undertake whatever steps are necessary to recover this amount."

"I trust that you will reconsider your position and that we will receive your payment."

But when the NewsMail contacted Ms Nelson at Gunther Village yesterday, it was a different story.

"Unfortunately at this stage, we're going to have to wear the cost," Ms Nelson said.

"It's a bitter taste."

Topics:  bill elderly people floods 2013

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