The aftermath of the tornado is still being felt by residents four weeks after it struck.
The aftermath of the tornado is still being felt by residents four weeks after it struck.

Lennox in limbo after tornado

IT’S NOW four weeks since a tornado tore a destructive path through Lennox Head, blowing apart some buildings and damaging several others, but not much has changed for many shell-shocked victims.

Demolition signs, roofing tarpaulins, metal security fences, empty and damaged houses and flats, piles of tree and building debris, newly-erected scaffolding and unopened stacks of new tiles tell the tale that it’s still too early to have moved on to rebuilding.

Wounds are still being licked, with many homeowners still waiting for insurance claims to befinalised before they can start rebuilding shattered lives.

Yet just up the street and around the corner on Saturday, cafes and shops are busy with the weekend trade.

It gives the impression to the casual visitor that all is well in the beachside township.

Pam Ellis and her husband, Graham, have been residents for 26 years and say they are luckier than their neighbours because they can still live in the front section of their damaged, two-storey home overlooking the ocean.

They had just arrived home from a caravanning trip to Far North Queensland when the tornado tore through on June 3, damaging rear rooms, destroying a shed and their caravan.

Mrs Ellis said tiles went through windows and glass doors ‘like torpedos’.

She said for the affected residents life was still ‘far from back to normal’.

“The glass windows have been fixed, but no work has started yet on the (tarpaulin-covered) roof and water got in last night with the rain,” she said on Saturday.

“But what can you expect. It takes time.

“Our neighbours on both sides can’t live in their homes so there are a lot of people doing it harder.”

Mrs Ellis is still impressed by the help the couple received immediately after the destruction from Ballina man Jason Ross, who she said just turned up with his truck and a crane and lifted steel debris off their wrecked caravan and helped clean up the yard.

With most of the damaged houses lacking any rebuilding activity, one site was active on Saturday, with workmen from Wiggins Scaffolding busy erecting a steel framework to allow repair work to begin at a home damaged by flying debris.

Owner of the business, Josh Wiggins, said his men were working six days a week with eight jobs now under way in Lennox Head as a result of the freak tornado.

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