Gin Gin slowly emptying
GIN GIN was playing host to almost 1000 stranded motorists with hundreds of cars and trucks lining the streets waiting for roads to reopen yesterday.
The massive influx of people almost doubled the town’s population of 950, placing a strain on the township’s resources including food, fuel and amenities.
Starburst Diner owner Jan Scott said about 200 trucks and up to 600 cars lined every car park and side street in sight.
“We are getting low on supplies because only a limited amount of stuff can get in,” Ms Scott said.
“All my life I have never seen things backed up like this.”
Ms Scott said the majority of marooned motorists were handling the situation well.
“They’re just walking around the streets and sitting in cars sleeping,” she said.
“If you’re not here to see it, you couldn’t imagine it.”
Ms Scott said pop-up camper trailers lined the streets with roads becoming homes and Gin Gin’s rest area and showground looking like thriving holiday parks.
The lack of up-to-date information was exasperating the trapped motorists, with many being told the roads were open but finding them closed when they arrived.
“A lot of people are disillusioned with the information they are getting over the phone and internet,” Ms Scott said. “People are frustrated with the lack of information.”
The diner owner has taken to offering free tea and coffee and providing a place to shower and relax.
“It’s the least I can do,” Ms Scott said.
“These poor blighters are stranded – I’ve got 70 cars parked around here alone.”
A controlled release of vehicles began at about noon yesterday with cars detoured through back roads out of town.
The opening of the roads saw the packed CBD become deserted in a short amount of time.
Zoe Cox and her family had been stranded at their Duckpond Road home for 19 days and found bare shelves at the Gin Gin IGA when they finally made it to town yesterday.
“There is no bread or flour or milk and barely any meat,” Ms Cox said.
“The EFTPOS machines weren’t working either and there is no Telstra phone or internet.
“It’s like a town without technology.”
Ms Cox said when she first got to town, trucks and cars lined every available space and backpackers were camping on the road islands.
“We went for a drive to Tirroan and when we got back, the roads had been opened and everyone was nearly gone,” she said.
“It emptied really quickly – everyone except for the trucks had gotten out of there quick.”