Australia: Picton legal office reopens after flooding
Last Updated: 22 August 2016

On the weekend of Sunday 5th June, most of us were aware of the wild weather that swept through the Macarthur Area. The lucky ones were rugged up inside their homes with the heating on, watching the heavy rain and gutters over flow through their windows. Many people started to realise by late Sunday afternoon that the heavy rain was causing hazardous floods in many areas, with pictures posted on social media of flood waters rising at Campbelltown Station, Mount Annan and Leppington. But it was the images of the high water levels sweeping through the main street of Picton that alarmed the staff at Coutts Solicitors and Conveyancers, as this is the location of our Picton legal office .

The Main Street of Picton Flooded

Coutts Solicitors & Conveyancers is located on the corner of Argyle Street and Cliffe Street, very close to where these photos were taken. We all felt sick at the sight of the images of the floods, but at this stage had no idea of the damage caused to our offices.

On Monday morning none of the staff were able to attend the Picton office. All the roads were closed due to the high flood waters, so all Picton staff were relocated to the Narellan Office to work. Throughout the day we heard reports of neighbouring businesses front windows being smashed by the rush of flood water and losing all of their stock. We could could not view the damage to our office, until the flood waters dispersed and roads to the area were reopened. However we still had hope, we are on the higher end of the street, a significant distance away from the burst river banks.

The Damage to the Coutts Solicitors & Conveyancers Picton Legal Office

It was Monday afternoon by the time we had access to our Picton legal office. The damage was immediately evident, with a brown sludge being left on the floor of the entire office (under the sludge are glossy white tiles). The smell was also horrendous, the whole office smelt like a sewer and the brown sludge looked like sewage, it was heartbreaking.

The damage was clear in every room, computers, files, printers and stationary all clearly showing the water damage. We established by the water marks on the wall that the water levels had submerged the office 30 – 40 cm. The money and time needed to repair the office had yet to be calculated, but at this stage we realised the damage was worse than we initially thought. We had not been as lucky as we had hoped on Monday.

After the devastating news of our own damage we began to hear unsettling rumours of Picton businesses insurance claims being rejected. Many insurance companies had found a loophole to avoid paying out for damages. We watched in dismay as fellow Picton business owners coped with the crushing news, many had been operating their whole life in the area and were now out of business as a result. We joined the community in their reaction of anger and disgust at the insurance companies tactics to save their money..... We were yet to be assessed by our insurance company, so the future of our office remained uncertain.

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