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Community & Business

30 March, 2023

Nearly half-million dollars in damages from recent storms

Devastating thunderstorms swept through Gilgandra last week with more $400,000 in damages caused locally.

By Emily Middleton

Local grain storage manufacturer, Ahren’s, lost nine silos to the storm with the roof of GrainCorp’s silos also bent out of shape; a first for the local businesses. There was also some powerlines down as well as a number of trees; but Gilgandra’s SES unit commander, Geoff Kiehne, said, all-in-all, not too-much damage was done residentially.

“It could have been a lot worse that’s for sure,” he said.

The SES responded to about eight to 10 calls on Wednesday night after the storm had hit at about 8.30pm.

“Most of the calls were for trees down, obstructing roads, or infringing on residencies,” Mr Kiehne said.

“From our perspective, the damage to residential buildings were relatively minor, but we’re not suggesting there was none… Ahrens and even GrainCorp, had a lot of damage,” he added.

Operations manager of Ahren’s Gilgandra, Andrew Schier, said that seven of the showground-stored 126- tonne silos were destroyed in the storm, a further two were written-off in the yard, with another four damaged but salvageable.

“We have a fair bit of work ahead of us,” Mr Schier said.

“It is in excess of $400,000 in damages. They’re insured, and we are going through that process, but we haven’t finalised that at all.”

This damage came after Ahren’s had a development application approved last month to expand their workshop. While the damages won’t affect the build, it will cause some production delays.

“Some of those bins will be covered by other stock but, for example, half-a-dozen were ready to go to one customer that we’d been waiting on for three months, so they’ll be a bit delayed,” Mr Schier said.

“It’d be different if it was September or October and they all needed them for harvest.”

Mr Schier explained that the owner of the businesses was made aware of the risk having silos out in the elements just last week. While the showground is a good spot for advertising and storage, it posed a risk.

“I was hoping we were through storm season,” said Mr Schier.

“Throughout the businesses and here in Gilgandra, we’ve never bolted silos down, they’ve always been in groups in the yard, which has also caused problems before,” he added. The silos are now being fastened with iron posts.

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