Murray Bridge Club reopens after 65 days behind a flood barrier
Things are finally starting to get back to normal on the city's riverfront.
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Sixty-five days – that’s how long it has been since a beer was last poured at the Murray Bridge Club.
The riverfront venue was forced to close in mid-December as this summer’s floods filled the River Murray to overflowing.
Thankfully the river never rose high enough to get above floor level in the occupied parts of the building.
So – after cleaning out the dust and cobwebs and re-stocking the fridges – the club reopened at 8am on Wednesday.
Manager Shane Barton-Ancliffe said it had been a difficult couple of months.
The club voluntarily gave each of its staff members two weeks’ pay, and was able to retain 18 of the 23 who had worked there before the flood.
But it lost up to $200,000 in revenue it would otherwise have earned over the busy Christmas-new year period.
As a result, it will have to delay planned renovations – including the installation of an elevator that would have made the upstairs dining room accessible to people with mobility impairments – by up to 12 months.
While most other community clubs around South Australia had revelled in a post-COVID return to normal trading conditions, the Murray Bridge Club missed out.
“Being closed for COVID, you felt you were doing it together,” Mr Barton-Ancliffe said.
“This you were alone.”
Still, it could have been worse.
A Defencell sand barrier minimised the damage to the former rowing shed down the bottom of the building, which will eventually be turned into a restaurant.
The water would have been up to 80cm high in there if it had not been protected, Mr Barton-Ancliffe estimated.
The club’s members and the wider community had been supportive, too.
“Having the nice comments from customers, ‘I can’t wait to come back’, that has been awesome,” he said.
What’s happening with Murray Bridge’s other riverfront businesses?
The club has not been the only business affected by this summer’s floods, of course.
The 1924 River Tavern, which had only opened in June, will resume trading on Friday.
On the water, the MV Proud Mary will start cruising again on February 19, while the Captain Proud is taking bookings for dates from March 2.
The operators of the PS Murray Princess have not yet announced their plans; they previously indicated they would resume sailing “as soon as it is safe to do so”, but cancelled all cruised through to March 16.
Riverscape Food and Wine remains closed, as it was before the floods.
Read more: Murray Bridge flood watch
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