Fire danger causes more angst for Ferns Hideaway owners

JUST as Genevieve and John Martin tried to get back to normal after Cyclone Marcia caused huge damage to their Ferns Hideaway business, they were under threat again.

But this time it was a bushfire putting the already badly affected businesses owners under more pressure.

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Genevieve told The Morning Bulletin yesterday, from her Byfield business, John had been out helping to contain the fire which started on Wednesday.

"We could see the smoke from our place, which started about midday yesterday (Wednesday)," she said.

"It's contained now I think, but the wind seems to be picking up this morning."

Their venue features a restaurant and cabins and is hired out for weddings and functions as well.

Planning a huge weekend of trade to get a cash flow going again, Genevieve said the fire had interfered with plans to get the property tidied up in time.

"A couple have offered to come out and mow, water our plants and do our pool and grounds for us to trade on the weekend, which was so kind," she said.

"That's how good the people are out here. We have had so much help and moral support, people walk up to us and give us hug or smile at us; they stop and ask 'are you ok?'

"It can be overwhelming, but Marto (John) said to me, 'I will never leave this community for what they have done for us, I could never just walk away'."

Open for the past 25 years, the couple were left with no insurance to cover their losses after their policy stated it would not pay out if it was a named cyclone.

"We hope that tourism operators can get a grant of some sort, but we're not counting on it," she said.

"We'll just have to bite the bullet and trade on, and do the best we can in the short term."



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