A second Community Meeting to help people in the Orara Valley and wider Coffs Harbour community recover from the 2019 bushfires is to be held at Nana Glen Community Hall on Wednesday, March 11, at 5.30pm. All are welcome.
Discussions at an earlier meeting in January with residents and businesses affected by the fires led to a preliminary list of initiatives to be funded by the Australian Government’s $1m grant to all bushfire-hit communities. These included:
- Nana Glen Community Hall – installation of solar panels and air-conditioning, $70,000.
- Community Led Recovery Event – a single whole-of-community event with activities and entertainment to bring everyone together, $50,000.
- Business and Tourism Support – Strategies to attract visitors, $68,000.
- Appointment of a 12-month Community Recovery Officer with experience and skills in disaster recovery, $150,000.
- Lower Bucca Community Preschool for the refurbishment of existing amenities and undercover outdoor area, $78,784.
Among the more long-term projects suggested were improvements to existing infrastructure, a community hub safe place and an emergency equipment storage facility.
The community has since been encouraged to come forward with further recovery ideas and feedback on how the remaining $583,216 money from the $1m grant can be used – along with further recovery funding provided by the State and Federal Governments – via a dedicated page on Council’s Have Your Say website.
An outline of a proposed final program of works will be presented at the meeting. In addition, the meeting will consider opportunities for environmental restoration projects and receive an update on recovery works carried out by the Australian Defence Force and Blazeaid.
Community feedback has already made clear that a single Community Led Recovery Event is not preferable and a different approach, including alternative funding sources, to deliver a program of community events and activities that promote community resilience and connection will also be outlined.
Road upgrades in the Orara Valley, including Ellems Quarry Road and McPhersons Road and bridge have also been highlighted during the community consultations and will be discussed.
Council will propose an alternate approach for Ellems Quarry Road. Prior to the bushfires, this road was sealed in some sections and gravel road in others. As many of the sealed sections were destroyed during the November fire, Council is in the process of claiming those costs back from the Federal Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), which cover damage to public infrastructure during disasters.
By using the DRFA funding and funding from our own road budgets, Council will be able to renew and seal the entire road. This work will take place during the first quarter of this financial year, most likely in August.