Tropical Cyclone Ilsa: Pardoo Roadhouse owners decide to refund donations
The team behind a vital WA pit-stop, destroyed by a category 5 cyclone, have made the decision to refund all donations it received from good Samaritans.
Pardoo Roadhouse and Tavern was right in the path of Tropical Cylone Ilsa, which crossed the northern Kimberley coast in the early hours of Friday morning at the strongest possible intensity.
The owners and management launched an online fundraiser last week to assist in the $4 million rebuild but have since decided to close the GoFundMe.
“Whilst we appreciate everyone from the bottom of our hearts for donating, we are not comfortable taking your money,” the post read.
“Donations to our GoFundMe account have been disabled and I have submitted a request for all donors to receive a 100 per cent refund.”
The owners said the decision to shut the fundraiser was because they were unsure if they would rebuild the roadhouse.
“This decision has nothing to do with insurance or the government,” the post read.
“At this stage we are still unsure if we will rebuild. If we decide to move forward and rebuild we will update everyone and reach out for assistance.
“Thank you everyone.”
The post has garnered hundreds of comments and likes from people saying they want the roadhouse to keep their money.
“All those that donated, have done so because of the beautiful people you are,” Ann Lee wrote.
“Please reconsider all these people that donated wanted to help you get on your feet,” Laura Collins wrote.
The GoFundMe had raised almost $25,000 before it was disabled.
In an emotional interview with The West Australian on Saturday afternoon, Varinder Batth, co-manager and owner of the roadhouse, said he and his family feared the only thing they were now able to do was demolish whatever was left of the ravaged business.
The heartbroken owners said after assessing the severe damage, there was a possibility they might not be able to rebuild.
“There is nothing left, mate, and whatever is left standing, we have to demolish it,” Mr Batth told The West.
“It is just a piece of land now.
“We don’t feel like it is sound enough to renovate.
“That’s it for us unless we get some help from the government.”
Mr Batth confirmed only some parts of his business were covered by insurance of up to $700,000.
The owners said they won’t give up on securing funding and will explore all possible options.
Despite the intensity of Ilsa, communities on WA’s Kimberley coast — including major centres like Broome and Port Headland — were relatively unharmed.