GUT-WRENCHING: Fire turns mountain resort into ghost town
A USUALLY bustling tourist destination has this week become a ghost town.
Bestbrook Farmstay, known for its old-fashioned hospitality and magnificent mountain views, is experiencing its worst conditions in 15 years.
“Every guest that we had coming last weekend cancelled,” owner Ray Vincent said.
“Every guest that we had coming this weekend cancelled,” Mr Vincent said.
“The roads, the smoke, the fires – they all impacted why people aren’t coming.”
It’s a business that relies heavily on tourists, and ongoing road closures to the Cunningham Highway only provide a bleak outlook for the Maryvale organisation.
“The police told me yesterday morning that the Gap will be closed for about two weeks,” Mr Vincent said.
“Without tourists, we can’t do anything – there’s no one coming to stay here because they can’t get through.
“I’m just hoping to Christ someone walks in this door.”
The Tregony bushfire warning remains at an advice level, and Mayor Tracy Dobie said the council was working closely with authorities to ensure residents’ safety.
“Our role is to establish evacuation centres, if they are called, and we also provide support to QFES – in this case,” Cr Dobie said.
“We are aware of the impact that the Gap’s closure is having on our region at the moment, from transport having to take a longer route and some organisations deciding not to proceed to the region.
“It is a large burning fire, that is probably going to cause more damage.”
For Mr Vincent, the devastating affects of the fires run deeper than other challenges.
“Gut wrenched – that’s the only way to describe how I feel right now,” he said.
“Even when the Gap was closed for a year, it wasn’t this bad.
“A lot of the workers stayed here, so we were still able to keep the business running.”
Despite the impact, Mr Vincent praised the work of firefighters across the region.
“They’ve done a bloody good job, and I don’t want to take anything away from that,” he said.
“All I’m seeing is fire engines and police cars going up and down the road.
“It would be lovely for the locals to come and support the business, but it’s hard because they’re all suffering through their own problems.”