Farmers hope Army may save harvest
THE Army could be brought in to help Lockyer Valley farmers transfer their harvested crops if flood-devastated roads aren't fixed in time.
Farmers west of Gatton said earlier this month they feared they would have to rebuild the road connecting Gatton with the communities of Mt Sylvia, Junction View, West Haldon and Black Duck if Main Roads didn't.
This week Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said farmers would not have to let another crop rot in the ground and assured residents help was on its way.
"The Army is here and have offered to help in any way they can," Cr Jones said.
Mt Sylvia Fresh Vegetable owners Brian and Julia Crust said the Army had offered to take out their produce when they begin harvesting.
"They have also offered to bring in diesel and other services too, which is great," Mrs Crust said.
In December, about 60 per cent of the Crusts' watermelon crop was lost when heavy downpours lashed the region and destroyed many of the region's roads.
Two months later, and after a much heavier and more destructive downpour, many of the roads are non-existent including Mt Sylvia Road at Mt Sylvia - a major thoroughfare used by produce trucks to transport harvested crops to consumers.
"We can't afford to lose any more crops, that's the bottom line," Mr Crust said.
"But bringing in the Army to take our produce out isn't an option. We need to ensure our produce is temperature controlled and transported properly to minimise bruising and damage.
But Mr Crust is hopeful Main Roads can have the roads fixed in time for the next lot of crops to be harvested.
"We have cauliflower and broccoli crops being harvested in four weeks time and I'm confident that they will have the road fixed," he said.
"They have the manpower and equipment out here now so it's just a matter of time."
On Monday night about 200 residents met with Main Roads officials and other government agencies to discuss issues from the floods.
A Main Roads spokesman yesterday said they were working "as quickly as possible" to fully reopen Mt Sylvia Road.
"The project is due to finish late February, weather permitting," the spokesman said.
"This route is a priority in the recovery work, however the extent of the damage has hampered ongoing investigations and the clean-up effort."