I won?t leave my dogs
By GENEVIEVE ALLPASS
CAROL Abbott lost her home and all of her possessions, including her teeth, but the one thing in her life she is refusing to let go of are her dogs.
It is one week today since devastating floods wreaked havoc across the lower Tweed, culminating in a terrifying mudslide that destroyed the homes of five residents of The Oasis estate, including Ms Abbott's, in Falcon Way, Tweed Heads South.
Within minutes their lives had literally slid out from underneath them, leaving them bewildered and broken.
Today Carol Abbott begins living in her car.
"I can't be without my dogs, they are all I have left," she said.
At the 11th hour yesterday the Member for Tweed, Neville Newell's office, the NSW Department of Community Services and the Department of Housing offered Ms Abbott emergency accommodation and a foster home for the dogs.
But after losing so much, Ms Abbott was not prepared to walk away from her pets as well.
"No I can't let them go, they are my children," she said.
Recalling the morning of Thursday June 30, Ms Abbott said she was in bed one minute and had lost the lot the next.
"I've been just so desperate," Ms Abbott said.
"It wasn't my fault that the hill collapsed. The house shouldn't have been built there in the first place.
"I just want my life back."
The remaining residents are still waiting for answers to how the mudslide happened, who will take responsibility, who will compensate them for their loss and how they will ever get their lives back on track.
Ms Abbott's neighbour, artist Graeme Stevenson lost his home, $20,000 worth of prints and up to $40,000 of business contacts in the deluge.
"The hill behind us was definitely a dumping ground and Tweed council should be held responsible for allowing the homes to be built here," he said.
"As far as I'm concerned a crime has been committed and this should be a criminal investigation," he said.
After repeated attempts to obtain legal representation since the mudslip occurred, the affected residents of Falcon Way received a glimmer of hope when a well-known solicitor had agreed to take on their cases.
Late yesterday Tweed Shire Council officials met regarding matters relating to the Falcon Way incident.