Flood warning signs welcomed in Toormina

Sawtell resident Kristine Gillon points out where she was parked on Wirrabilla Drive when her car got flooded.

A SAWTELL resident’s plea for flood warning signs to be erected along a road her car got badly water damaged on, has led to a commitment by the City of Coffs Harbour (CoCH) to do just that.

Kristine Gillon, who lives near Toormina Gardens Shopping Centre, parked her car on Wirrabilla Drive on Monday 15 January 2024, to go shopping in Woolworths.

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“At the time I didn’t realise the unfortunate position of my parking spot,” she said.

“It was a classic roadside parking spot on a residential road.

“It was just in front of a road drain,” she said.

While she was shopping, a storm with very heavy rain hit the area.

Along with many others, she waited for it to abate before heading to her car.

“Imagine my shock on exiting the doors to see not only the roadway (Wirrabilla Drive) submerged, but the water came up to my knees,” Kristine said.

“And then I saw my car, and at least two others, with rainwater almost to the top of the wheels.

“As a result, of course, the floor well was filled with water and my car had to be towed away and was later written off.”

Kristine has been a Sawtell local for around 30 years and was aware that in extreme conditions the road could flood.
“I was totally unaware though that a single one-afternoon-storm could result in such devastation,” she said.

Kristine then contacted the City of Coffs Harbour, hoping for improvements so that could avoid others experiencing a similar fate.

“My plea to the council was that if it is not possible to fix the problem through drainage etc then for them to sign the street permanently to make people aware that parking there in heavy rain should be avoided in order to prevent others from suffering the same ordeal as me.

“I submitted the request in the hope I can save others from dealing with the emotional, and financial stress and inconvenience that I have endured as a result of flooding in Wirrabilla Drive,” she told News Of The Area.

And it looks like Kristine’s wish will be granted, with CoCH informing her that “installation of ‘Road Subject to Flooding’ and depth indicators” have been added to the City’s works schedule.

“A detailed hydraulic assessment of the draining system also needs to be undertaken.”

A CoCH spokesperson confirmed with News Of The Area, “City of Coffs Harbour will install cautionary signage in the area that it may be subject to flooding.”


Wirrabilla Drive is a well-used parking spot for people visiting Toormina Gardens Shopping Centre.

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