Wingecarribee Shire Council Mayor Duncan Gair has this morning joined Police, the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and staff of Council to inspect fire-affected Balmoral and Buxton.
Mayor Gair said following discussions with emergency services safety remained of paramount concern.
“I know a lot of residents want to get into Balmoral and Buxton and inspect their properties for themselves and see what damage has been caused by the weekend fires,” he said.
“I understand it’s very frustrating but some parts of the villages are still too dangerous for public access.
“We’ve still got live power down, unstable structures and heavy machinery in the area.
“We have however organised for buses to ferry those residents of Balmoral and Buxton wishing to inspect those areas of their villages which emergency personnel have deemed safe to do so later today.”
Residents of Balmoral or Buxton wishing to attend should meet at the foyer entrance of the Mittagong RSL at 3pm.
Residents are requested to meet 15 minutes prior.
A secondary pick up location will depart from the Colo Vale RFS shed at 3.30pm.
Joining Mayor Gair on this morning’s inspections were staff from the RFS, emergency services personnel, Police and key staff of Council.
Council arborists and contractors are also currently onsite in the villages assessing and removing trees, while engineers have begun preliminary inspections on roads and infrastructure assets.
Water reticulation staff are also working with Endeavour Energy to restore power and stabilise water supply.
“Right now we’re working with our colleagues from the various emergency services agencies and utilities to open up the villages and allow residents back in as soon as possible,” Mayor Gair said.
“Safety however remains our number one priority and as soon as these areas can be secured both villages will be opened for broader access.”
“I would add that while what I saw today was truly heartbreaking, I also witnessed acts of amazing generosity,” the Mayor added.
“Indeed the overwhelming sentiment I heard from locals over the weekend was that while their spirit has been battered – they’re far from broken.
“I have no doubt that in the coming weeks and months all of our Shire’s residents will open their hearts to help their neighbours.”
A Mayoral Relief Fund is currently being finalised with details of how residents can donate to be issued shortly.