While COVID-19 has been dominating headlines, I wanted to reassure the community that Coffs Harbour City Council remains as committed as ever to progressing the bushfire recovery response.
Last week, the promised Bushfire Recovery Officer, Melinda Brooks, began work with the Orara Valley community to support them as they move forward through the long-term recovery process.
Melinda is a disaster recovery specialist with personal experience of bushfires having lived through the 2011 Margaret River bushfire.
From the very first discussions with local residents in the bushfire-affected areas, it was clear that having an expert Recovery Officer available full-time was going to be massively important in helping people emerge from this disaster as strongly as possible and we’re delighted to have Melinda on board.
Melinda is being funded from the $1.3m bushfire recovery funds provided for the Coffs Harbour local government area by the Australian and NSW Governments.
COVID-19 safety measures mean that Melinda cannot currently use the temporary office set up in Nana Glen, but residents can contact Melinda by calling 6648 4840 or emailing her at email@example.com Information and useful links on local bushfire recovery efforts can be found on Council’s Have Your Say website.
We have also been assured that the NSW Government contractor Laing O’Rourke has deployed its community engagement teams to contact already-registered bushfire-affected property-owners in the Orara Valley area to plan clean-up works. The clean-up is free for all eligible properties.
Laing O’Rourke is adapting how their teams communicate and interact with bushfire impacted communities to comply with social distancing and is also working closely with local subcontractors to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place.
If your property was hit by the 2019 bushfires and needs clearing, but you have not yet registered, call 13 77 88, or register by visiting https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-opt-nsw-bushfire-clean
This year’s Anzac Day is a very different experience for all of us with the cancellation of the traditional ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We may have marked the day differently – perhaps watching the national commemoration ceremony rather than a local one, or by sharing the dawn moment with neighbours on driveways or decks. But one aspect will have been the same – the time taken to commemorate and honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Anzac Day always brings the nation together in a celebration of Aussie spirit and comradeship, and as we find ourselves on this special day in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we should take a minute to draw some inspiration from the brave spirit of those who fought for our country in wars past.