Damage at Peter Bahttis raspberry farm after flooding destroyed it last week. Photos: Frank Redward
Damage at Peter Bahttis raspberry farm after flooding destroyed it last week. Photos: Frank Redward

'Life changes overnight': Farmer’s $1.5m storm loss

Peter Bahtti's voice breaks as he recalls the events of the past week.

The Corindi farmer lost his $1.5m raspberry farm in the space of an hour, as rains brought what he described as a tsunami down on the area.

"Overnight, your life changes," Mr Bahtti told journalist Frank Redward, choking back tears.

 

"When I seen (sic) what the water had done, there's no way you can imagine."

Mr Bahtti has owned the raspberry farm at Sherwood Creek Road for the past two years, previously farming bananas and blueberries.

Peter Bahtti describes the damage at his Corindi raspberry farm after floodwaters destroyed it last week. Photos: Frank Redward
Peter Bahtti describes the damage at his Corindi raspberry farm after floodwaters destroyed it last week. Photos: Frank Redward

He said one moment it was a normal day - with 53 workers picking, packing and planting - the next, not one job could be salvaged.

"It was a mini tsunami, it was the only way to describe it. We had 300mm in an hour and a half after midnight, and the water had to go somewhere," he said.

>>> RELATED: Rainfall figures off the charts from Upper Corindi

"The creek overflowed … and the force of water … it was a tsunami."

Mr Bahtti said there was water 2m high and 70m long across the properties. They had to use a dinghy to reach their neighbours, who had four children, and help them to safety.

"All the machinery that was parked outside, it's all in the dam in the creek," he said.

Damage at Peter Bahttis raspberry farm after flooding destroyed it last week. Photos: Frank Redward
Damage at Peter Bahttis raspberry farm after flooding destroyed it last week. Photos: Frank Redward

"Everything inside the shed, it's all water affected, including our irrigation system, computers. It's all a wreck.

"It's going to be a very hard, long season because our next planting season is in December, but now we've got to start from scratch."

 

Mr Bahtti said it had cost around $250,000 per hectare to set up the farm - on top of the price they had paid for the land.

"It's not easy to be a farmer," he said, "people always complain about you … but it's very hard.

Damage at Peter Bahttis raspberry farm after flooding destroyed it last week. Photos: Frank Redward
Damage at Peter Bahttis raspberry farm after flooding destroyed it last week. Photos: Frank Redward

"You can see the destruction, you can see the debris from the creek. It took all the plants out, it's probably out in the ocean.

"Whatever was outside had no chance, no matter how heavy it was.

"We've got no choice but to start again."


Philip’s unconventional royal romance

Premium Content Philip’s unconventional royal romance

Prince Philip’s rather unconventional romance blossomed into love

Philip’s deep bond with Australia

Premium Content Philip’s deep bond with Australia

Prince Philip visited Australia an astonishing 35 times.

Bar goes into lockdown after man goes berserk in pub rampage

Premium Content Bar goes into lockdown after man goes berserk in pub rampage

'Hotel staff locked everyone down in the bottle shop and bar'