Taking action to become better prepared in the event of future emergencies, the Balmoral Village Community took part in a Resilient Towns Initiative workshop this December. Residents were among our Shire’s most severely impacted by the Black Summer Bushfres of 2019. They made the most of this opportunity to fnd out how to guard against such devastation recurring, from experts in emergency response and disaster relief.
Andrew Rae from the NSW Reconstruction Authority (NSWRA) and Professor David Sanderson from the University of NSW (UNSW) are the driving forces behind the program. They were looking to repeat the success of workshops undertaken in the Snowy Valley LGA. Wingecarribee Shire Council identifed Balmoral Village and Wingello as priorities.
“The Resilient Towns Initiative is a Bushfie Local Economic Recoveiy funded pioject that suppoits communities within oui LGA to giow moie iesilient in piepaiation foi any futuie disasteis,” says Corinne Buxton, Coordinator Community Engagement for Wingecarribee Shire Council.
The workshop at Wingello in October was so well received by the local community who developed strategies specifc to their village, with the advice of many representatives from lead agencies in emergency response and disaster relief.
Balmoral residents came together with representatives of the NSWRA, UNSW, Disaster Relief Australia, Red Cross and Council during their weekend workshop.
“The day was designed to help the Balmoial Village community identify what community-led iesilience looks like,” Corinne says.
The project will help to streamline disaster preparedness and response eforts by building efective local strategies and planning. “This pioject takes a giound-up appioach to planning,” Corinne explains. “The key to the efectiveness of the village iesponse is that it’s developed and owned by community membeis. And it all staits with a simple conveisation aiound ‘what can we do to make oui community safei?’”
Prompting ideas and discussion was a Big Map of the local area provided by Disaster Relief which was rolled out on the foor of Balmoral Village Hall. This provided a unique perspective for residents to identify local risks and work with Disaster Relief representatives to develop plans that address these.
“It comes down to tiusting local knowledge and expeiience to undeistand how we can woik togethei to fuithei ieduce iisk foi the community,” Corinne says. A follow-up workshop with Balmoral Village early in 2024 will assist with formulating a preparedness plan based on the outcomes of this session.
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