JANINE Wilce feels a bit awkward saying so, but the March 2013 tornado did some good.
The devastation inflicted throughout Bundalong drew the community even closer together.
And for her own business, it motivated her to embark on a renewal project for the Bundalong Tavern she otherwise would not have started.
Mrs Wilce said they were in the process of developing 35 new cabins at the site.
“If it wasn’t for the tornado I probably wouldn’t have done this,” she said.
In another sign of the town’s renewal, a coffee shop is being built across the road from the tavern.
Mrs Wilce said it took only a week after the tornado on the night of March 21 last year to get back on an even keel.
“What I was worried about at the time was that following week,” she said.
“Easter’s one of our busiest periods of the year — we depend on the tourism dollar to get us through winter.
“But actually it was fantastic.”
Mrs Wilce said her business received a tremendous amount of support.
“People came just because of the tornado — they looked and they spent money,” she said.
“It was a really good time, everybody jumped in and helped.”
Mrs Wilce said a lack of trees was really the only sign of what had happened.
“We had beautiful big trees all around the tavern and they’re all gone,” she said.
Mrs Wilce said three of the cabins were already being built.
“Hopefully within the next 12 months it should all be completed,” she said.
What Mrs Wilce remembers most about those first few days last March was the strong community spirit.
Somehow that shone through more than the devastation of the tornado.
“It just brought the town even closer, everyone jumped in and helped each other,” Mrs Wilce said.
“It was a bad time, but it was also a good time.”
Mrs Wilce said for that reason, she didn’t have any ill-feelings over what occurred.
“A lot of people came to the tavern and really, no one was whinging,” she said.
“They all just came in and helped each other. It was wonderful.”
Mrs Wilce said there were a few houses where the owners were still having problems with their insurance companies.