By Jin Kok
Bellbowrie Kindergarten opened its doors to students for the first time today after the January floods inundated the building right up to its ceiling.
More than 40 children have been based in the nearby Pullenvale State School after most of their suburb in Brisbane’s southwest was flooded.
AUDIO: Samatha Childs, parent and Anstead resident
Bellbowrie Kindergarten director Robyn Bowman said the children were thrilled with their new-look kindergarten, which she thought would never be rebuilt.
“When I saw what was damaged I thought we’re never going to get this back again, I thought all those resources we’d collected like toys were gone,” she said.
She was invited to apply for assistance on the Join Forces program organised by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority after discovering the insurance payout was not going to be enough to rebuild.
Brookfield Multiplex Queensland regional director John Shepherd said they were approached by Join Forces to give assistance to the kindergarten about two months ago.
“It was a complete war-zone, this garden had contaminated mud all over it and the water had just receded from the top of the roofline and basically everything had to be stripped out,” he said.
Mr Shepherd said more than 50 per cent of the materials used in the six-week reconstruction were donated, with Brookfield Multiplex paying for the rest of the materials along with the labour.
“It cost the Kindy nothing to get back on its feet, we’re very proud about that and we’re very thankful for all 16 sub-contractors who assisted us in getting this great result today,” he said.
Queensland Education Minister Cameron Dick said rebuilding the kindergarten was a ‘very big job’ which took a ‘mammoth’ effort from the community and paid tribute to the parents, Queensland Reconstruction Authority and Multiplex Brookfield.
“This is a real demonstrated example of the community working together to bring kids back to where they belong, back to a great community Kindergarten where they can have fun, learn and play and get back to a normal way of life,” he said.
Head of Queensland Reconstruction Authority Major General Mick Slater said stories like this were being repeated across the state.
“That’s the sort of community spirit and cooperation that is going on right across Queensland and corporate Australia is certainly doing its part,” he said.