Council creates Bushfire Recovery Action Plan to help Coffs Coast region recover from 2019 fires

The out of control Liberation Trail fire turned the Coffs Harbour local government area into an eerie apocalyptic scene in November last year when it entered the region. Photo: Emma Darbin.

 

A BUSHFIRE Recovery Action Plan for 2020-2222 has been created by Coffs Harbour City Council in response to last year’s devastating bushfires.

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Between October and December 2019, the local government area was directly impacted by three bushfires, the Mount Browne, Eastbank and Liberation Trail fires.

In particular, the fast burning Liberation Trail fire which posed an extreme risk to many Coffs Harbour communities, most notably the Nana Glen/Orara Valley community which was devastated by the out of control fire on November 12, directly affecting 47 properties.

In total, seventeen dwellings were lost, seven homes were damaged and a large number of buildings and infrastructure were damaged by the three fires.

More than 3,500 hectares of land was burnt in the local government area.

The Bushfire Recovery Action Plan 2020-2222 summarises Council’s response to the bushfire crisis and outlines the recovery process for bushfire affected residents, the Orara Valley community and the broader local government area.

The new plan provides an overview of the funding allocations, outcomes expected and the status of planned activities and recovery programs including community and social recovery, business and tourism recovery, environmental recovery, and infrastructure recovery.

“The Bushfire Recovery Plan 2020-2222 acknowledged the impact the 2019 bushfire events had on communities throughout the Coffs Harbour LGA and provides an evidence based view of needs created by the bushfires and a trajectory for future recovery and preparedness planning,” a Council report on the plan stated.

Earlier this year, Council received $1.4 million in funding from the State and Federal Governments to support the community during the bushfire recovery process.

This has led to the commencement of a Bushfire Recovery Program and the creation of a cross organisational Bushfire Working Group to coordinate recovery activity across various programs.

Recovery projects include the Nana Glen Community Hall upgrade, Lower Bucca Pre-school upgrade, Bushfire Recovery Art project, Family Day at Orara Valley Community Pool, Orara Valley Tourism Trail, and the Nana Glen Memorial Community Hall upgrade.

As well as 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, and planning advice.

Residents and business owners in the fire-affected areas also have access to a wide range of government grants and support services.

At Council’s recent ordinary meeting on Thursday, 10 September Coffs Harbour City councillors unanimously agreed to adopt the new plan, and for Council and the community to receive quarterly updates on the progress of the plan.

A copy of the Bushfire Recovery Action Plan 2020-2222 can be found online on Council’s Have Your Say website.

 

By Emma DARBIN

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