The below details were reported following a meeting held with local Emergency Services personnel and staff of Council earlier this week.
Key outcomes include:
- Multi-agency building assessment teams including staff of Council continue to assess structures and critical Council infrastructure including roads, bridges and water and sewer services in bush fire affected areas.
- Water supply to Bundanoon was maintained via Council’s water network throughout the initial Morton Fire threat. Connection and supply to the Bundanoon Water Treatment Plant (WTP) was re-established on Sunday evening.
- Staff continue to assess dangerous trees.
- Waste services including domestic, recycling and organic collections were initially delayed following the outbreak of the Morton Fire but were restored within 48 hours. A collection was organised on Monday through Bundanoon and Wingello and is scheduled to return again on Thursday 9 January for another run.
- Staff are finalising details of another onsite meeting later this week with fire affected residents of Balmoral and Buxton.
- An information kiosk and appointments have been held with residents of Wingello and funds have begun to be directly distributed from the Mayoral Relief Fund to the most severely impacted.
- Bundanoon Pool has been cleaned of ash and debris and re-opened on Wednesday afternoon (8 January).
- Discussions continue with our State and Federal Members on how to best pool resources and distribute government funding.
- Council has provided a potable tanker water supply to the village of Balmoral.
- Council has begun re-filling water tanks via water carters in Wingello.
- Refrigerated storage containers were arranged for residents impacted by the Green Wattle Creek fire and staff are in the process of securing storage containers for residents of Wingello.
- Staff continue to assist Local Land Services in the grim task of disposing of cattle and livestock.
Another key message from the meeting came from our local Southern Highland Police Command who confirmed that extra police patrols from neighbouring Lake Illawarra have commenced in Bundanoon and Wingello to monitor any suspicious behaviour.
Welfare agencies have also reported that donations have been overwhelming but storage is now becoming problematic. Financial assistance is now the priority. Residents wishing to donate can do so via the Mayoral Relief Fund. Funds donated here are being channelled directly back to our Shire’s bush fire affected residents. Details on how to donate can be found on Council’s home page at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au.
Similar Bush Fire Recovery Meetings will be held in the coming days and weeks and I’ll continue to keep you informed of developments.
Councillors were given a comprehensive briefing in relation to the current fire situation on Wednesday 8 January.
I appreciate there’s still a long way to go, and we’re by no means out of danger. Until this crisis has concluded Council will continue to commit resources, man-power and assistance in supporting the fire-fighting efforts and the residents of our Shire.
I would conclude by thanking everyone involved with the relief efforts so far. I thank all the tireless men and women of the RFS and NSW Fire & Rescue, the volunteers and welfare agencies teams, the staff of Council and everyone who has gone to the aid of neighbours and strangers.
Your acts of generosity, resilience and bravery during this challenging time are making a difference and together our Shire will move forward.
Wingecarribee Shire Mayor
Councillor Duncan Gair