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Riviera passion shines through a muddy flood

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Adversity is a powerful measure of commitment and the Riviera team demonstrated their commitment to the business and the brand at the company’s headquarters after severe flooding.

The deluge, brought by the remnant of Cyclone Debbie that had, just a few days earlier, devastated the tropical holiday and cruising region of the Whitsunday Islands, left metre-deep water and mud across much of the company’s site at Coomera in south-east Queensland.

“We knew it would be a dangerous event,” says Engineering Manager Matthew Lang. “The Coomera River that flows beside our facility is strongly tidal and has a large catchment. Water coming down from the catchment and a high tidal force coming from the ocean meant serious flooding.

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“I am constantly amazed by the passion and commitment of the people we work with at Riviera. We began to prepare the site on Thursday, lifting small items to higher shelves and moving larger ones further away from the river. We tied down the motor yachts in our main fitout shed.

“Some of the large flybridge motor yachts in the under-cover marina were moved outside simply because they would touch the roof in very high water.

“Then we braced ourselves. Most of our staff were off site by 11am on Thursday. A few of us remained.  Virtually everyone had evacuated when owner and Chairman Rodney Longhurst, who was still on site, made the final decision to move two motor yachts out of our waterfront shed to higher ground. Cameron Brown stayed to man the forklift and complete the move.”

Team managers were on the phone to one another by 4am on Friday and one, living close by, drove to the facility. His photograph told the story: water all the way to the main road.

The river was set to fall as the tide withdrew so a call-out went to staff, apprentices and contractors to help. Between 6.30am and 7am more than 60 people were on hand to work on cleaning up.

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“They were incredible,” says Matthew. “Everyone arrived in boots and old clothes and began hosing the mud and debris away. We had to clear and clean drains, open cupboards near the waterfront and hose them out. Muddy water at the waterfront shed was nearly a metre high, slightly worse than the major event after a cyclone in January 2013.

“Some people worked to keep us supplied with materials and cleaning products. It was a fantastic team effort.”

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The clean-up was declared completed by midday and the team adjourned to a well-earned barbecue, organised by General Administration Manager Bianca Cross.

By Monday the entire facility was back at full operation with only a few marks to show the height the water had reached just four days earlier.

“It was a magnificent demonstration of the Riviera spirit and passion,” said a thankful Rodney Longhurst.

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