CORNWALL has experienced unprecedented storms and flooding over the past two months.
Coming from Looe, I have seen the fury of Mother Nature in action many times; Looe has always flooded on a high tide, but we put up our flood boards, weather the storm, get our mops and buckets out, clean up and carry on – business as usual.
But, while I have been taken aback by the ferocity and relentlessness of the 2014 storms, I am not in the least surprised by the resilience of our communities and the willingness to help others in need.
Both the emergency services and Cornwall Council's Highways and Environment Service staff worked tirelessly to help protect us from the worst ravages of the onslaught from the sea and the wind.
I saw at first hand in my own community how volunteers from the RNLI, coastguard and the Fire and Rescue service worked alongside councillors, neighbours and friends to help each other.
I am proud of the resilience of our communities in the face of adversity; I am proud to see communities come together to help businesses and residents pump out, clean up and carry on. This spirit of community co-operation is something to be celebrated.
However, this resilience is fragile and sometimes we all need a helping hand. The storms have presented huge challenges not only for individual communities as they recover, but for Cornwall Council in mending damaged sea defences, ports and harbours and beaches.
We welcome government announcements of positive changes to the Bellwin system which reimburses councils for the money they have spent on emergency repairs. We also welcome other announcements of financial help for local authorities, residents and businesses, but with the repair bill running in excess of £21m, we now need the Government to step up to the plate and deliver on these promises of financial help.
Despite some elements of the media focusing on disaster and destruction, there really is no reason for visitors not to come to Cornwall; we are open for business, visitors can still experience our beautiful beaches, stunning countryside, spectacular South West Coast Path walks and definitely experience a warm Cornish welcome.