A report into ongoing bushfire recovery progress in the Orara Valley has been presented to Coffs Harbour City Councillors.
“It’s just ten months since the November 2019 fires struck the Orara Valley community and we’re already preparing for the next bushfire season, which is a chilling thought,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight.
“I can’t possibly begin to understand how hard these past months have been for the residents who lost homes, property or livelihoods as a result of the fires, but I do know that Council has remained solidly focused on helping them as much as we can – despite the limitations imposed on activities by COVID-19.
“They have proved to be extraordinarily resilient and engaged in the recovery process and I’m glad we’ve been able to work with them positively to help provide the infrastructure and support they have identified as priorities.”
The appointment of a Council Community Recovery Officer, Melinda Brooks, has created a useful and positive dialogue between Council, bushfire-affected residents, bushfire recovery agencies, local support organisations, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and the broader community. An internal Council Bushfire Recovery Working Group chaired by General Manager Steve McGrath has also provided clear links across the organisation to ensure that bushfire recovery actions and responses are coordinated.
The ‘Bushfire Recovery Action Plan 2020-2022’ outlines the outcomes, activities and current status of recovery across four key areas. These include:
- Community and Social Recovery
- Business and Tourism Recovery
- Environmental Recovery
- Infrastructure Recovery
They range from fencing replacement, local road and bridge rehabilitation, supporting environmental recovery with a grants program, community outreach opportunities with service providers, tourism promotion, assistance with development applications for rebuilding, planning advice and emergency vehicle hardstand and turn-around bays.
Funding for ongoing projects has been provided by the Australian Government, NSW Government and Council. Residents and business-owners in the fire-affected areas also have access to a wide range of government grants and support services.
A copy of the ‘Bushfire Recovery Action Plan 2020-2022’ can be found online on Council’s Have Your Say website.
Pictured above on the left is Melinda Brooks at a recent community outreach session in Nana Glen.