Sherry and Dave Leigh claim they have been delayed in trying to rebuild their lives after the Christmas floods by a barricade of bureaucratic red tape.
Sherry and Dave Leigh claim they have been delayed in trying to rebuild their lives after the Christmas floods by a barricade of bureaucratic red tape. Mike Knott

Couple battles red tape

A BUNDABERG couple whose home was destroyed in the Christmas floods claims bureaucratic red tape is delaying their path to recovery.

The water came up to disability pensioner Dave Leigh's eyebrows when it washed through his home, on the corner of George St and Water St, in late December last year.

Floodwaters reached a height of 1.7m and lay stagnant in the home for seven days, causing irreversible structural damage to walls and footings.

Mr Leigh and his wife Sherry demolished the home a month ago at the recommendation of their insurance company.

The couple claim an unsympathetic Bundaberg Regional Council and a blockade of red tape has halted their efforts to relocate a home to the now-bare house block.

“We feel like we're butting our heads against a brick wall right now,” Mrs Leigh said.

The pair put a deposit on a farmhouse-style home which was to be moved to the George St block by Bundaberg Home Removals.

They now fear they will not have enough room on the block because of regulations that dictate houses must be at least 6m back from street boundaries.

The couple's former home, a converted shop, sat against its old boundaries, and Mrs Leigh's own boundary audit of nine other properties on Water St found the average distance from the boundary to the dwelling was 3.2m.

“They said it's a State Building Authority regulation,” she said.

“What I want to know is why they can't give us a little bit of leniency when most of the other homes were built before this regulation came in and don't have to follow it.”

Bundaberg Regional Council CEO Peter Byrne said the authority was aware of the couple's extenuating circumstances and was giving consideration to their request.

“Council must take into account this house is going to be there for a long time,” he said.

“Council will give the matter due consideration, and given the circumstances caused by certain limitations of the block, we feel as though we will be able to achieve an acceptable result.”



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