Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre owners Kym Knox, Sharon and Darren Lahmann and Leah and Kevin Ala-Outinen in their temporary evacuation centre.
Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre owners Kym Knox, Sharon and Darren Lahmann and Leah and Kevin Ala-Outinen in their temporary evacuation centre. Claudia Baxter

Sports centre thanks flood helpers

SLEEP-deprived owners of the Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre have paid tribute to the scores of volunteers who helped up to 900 flood-affected residents through one of the toughest weeks in the city's history.

Usually set aside for sports such as indoor cricket, netball and soccer, the astroturfed surface was instead filled end to end with makeshift beds since the first homes were evacuated early last week.

There are still 63 evacuees in the centre.

Co-owner of the indoor sports centre, Kym Knox, said she and the other owners had been working around the clock since the evacuation centre was opened.

“We had about 400 people in here by Wednesday night; the rest were in the greyhound-racing clubhouse,” Mrs Knox said.

“This centre is owned by three lots of husband and wives; we all have full-time jobs, but since the evacuations – 8.30pm last Tuesday night – it has been us up here constantly.”

Co-owner Kevin Ala-Outinen said the indoor centre was the “family area” with a large number of children.

Two courts were initially left open so that kids who lost their homes had an area to play cricket, soccer and netball in.

The last of the evacuees are expected to leave the indoor centre tomorrow night, after which an extensive clean-up and restocking of the facility will commence.

The indoor centre should be re-opened for regular business on Monday.



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