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Talking cars at the Southern Field Days yesterday, Leslie Baxter was relishing not being on the end of a broom or a water-blaster.
His Gore businesses, Carnaby Cars and Carnaby Paint and Panel, were badly affected by flooding last week and remain closed.
While staff managed to move some vehicles, the floodwaters rose quickly and there were about 10 that they could not shift in time which filled with water.
Water about 1.5m deep went through the building, tools were ruined and some of the walls would have to be stripped because of the contamination behind the wallboards.
“It’s only business, isn’t it? Some people lost their houses. I’ve got somewhere to sleep at night,” he said.
He was gratified by the response of staff, saying they had been “amazing”, with their partners also coming along to sweep out mud and water-blast.
That attitude was also reflected by the wider Gore community in the way that it had dealt with the deluge, he said.
Mr Baxter was also grateful for a team from LDV and Ssangyong who came from Auckland and Christchurch to help get the site set up at Southern Field Days and to bring vehicles south. Otherwise, it would not have been possible, he said.
While the cleanup was continuing, he said he could “semi-forget” about that while he was at the first day of the field days.
Field days was a “big deal” for a vehicle dealership, not just for the number of vehicles sold, which varied from event to event, but also a lot of people wanted to see what was available.
“You don’t just walk in and spend fifty grand just on a whim,” he said.
Outgoing field days event manager-secretary Sharon Paterson said the first day of the three-day event had gone fairly smoothly.
After overseeing her fourth event, she was going to be “jumping for joy and heading to the next part of my life”.
Her successor Jude McNab, who has been working alongside Mrs Paterson for the past three months, said she was grateful to have a “great committee” behind her.