Credibility means all hands on deck

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Like a captain going down with his ship, Steamer Wharf co-landlord John Stevenson wouldn’t leave his premises last Thursday. 

He says he had three hours’ sleep on a camping mattress in his office between coordinating flood plans with tenants and checking sumps and pumps overnight. 

“We charged ahead on the basis it was going to flood. If we sat in the office and did nothing, our credibility with tenants would be zero.” 

Stevenson supplied ply, bags, polythene and sealant, and ordered three truckloads of sand to secure his lakeside precinct. He estimates $10,000-$12,000 was spent on flood-prepping Steamer Wharf and two other co-owned buildings, Mountaineer and Outside Sports premises. 

“If we’re accused of being over-prepared, I’m more than happy spending time tipping out sandbags than ripping off gib-board,” he says. 

Minus 5 anticipated any power-outage by lowering the bar temperature to minus 12degC so as to prevent ice sculptures from melting in the event power was lost, manager James Ace says. 

“It was pretty cold. Staff were cool, it was something different. It was interesting taking customers in, too, because they think it’s minus five and you tell them it’s minus 12 and they’re like, ‘whoa’.” 

Atlas Beer Cafe owner Davey McKenzie designed his flood-prone lakeside bar to be broken down and taken away. Fortunately no water crept in and his distinctive wall murals remained intact – even though artist Emma Butler offered to touch up any damage for free. 

McKenzie closed Atlas and his restaurant Luciano’s “by accident” because he had heard the entire building was being shut down on Thursday and Friday – “which kinda sucked, actually”.