Yeppoon cyclone shelter officially opens ahead of storm season

14 November 2012

The first of 10 new cyclone shelters is now officially open at Yeppoon ahead of the approaching cyclone season.

The new $5.3 million Category 5 cyclone shelter at the Yeppoon State High School has been completed as part of the $60 million cyclone shelter program jointly funded by the Queensland Government and the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Margaret Strelow said the shelter will help safeguard people's lives for years to come in the event of a Category 5 cyclone and will be a valuable multi-sports facility for year-round use by the local community.

"The cyclone shelter is a great resource for the community and will bring peace of mind to Capricorn Coast residents in the lead-up to cyclone season," Councillor Strelow said.

"It is important for all residents along the Capricorn Coast to be prepared for the upcoming cyclone and storm surge season and that should include having a household plan in place for disasters."

Capable of withstanding winds of more than 300 kilometres per hour, the 1500 square metre facility will make the Yeppoon community more resilient in the event of a cyclone and will provide safe and secure shelter for up to 800 people.

"I would like to point out that the difference between a cyclone shelter and an evacuation centre is that a cyclone shelter is designed primarily as a last resort option for residents so conditions are not like an evacuation centre," Councillor Strelow said.

"The cyclone shelter offers very limited space with 1.2m² per person. No pets are allowed, and there are no cooking facilities with individuals needing to supply their own food during their time at the shelter."

"Most Queenslanders will never forget the destruction of the natural disasters of late 2010 and early 2011 and other events like Cyclone Larry, and it's important we learn from that as we continue the reconstruction effort building safer and more resilient communities."

The cyclone and storm surge season officially started on the 1 November 2012 and finishes around the end of April 2013.

The United Arab Emirates Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs His Excellency Khalid al Ghaith travelled to North Queensland to officially open the first cyclone shelter in the program.

"The construction of this building, and the other nine cyclone shelters in the program, would not have been possible without the $30 million donation from the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi," Councillor Strelow said.

The Department of Housing and Public Works managed the delivery of the Yeppoon cyclone shelter with contractor Hutchinson Builders and will manage the delivery of cyclone shelters in Bowen, Ingham, Port Douglas, Proserpine, Townsville, Tully and Weipa, all of which are due for completion at various times as 2012 draws to a close, weather permitting.

The Yeppoon cyclone shelter