9 August 2022

Batlow's brand new buildings prove very accommodating

| Edwina Mason
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Itinerant Worker Accommodation Project

Another significant milestone has been reached in the rebuild of Batlow since the Black Summer bushfires, with the arrival of brand new accommodation units that will house itinerant workers. Photo: Snowy Valleys Council.

Life in Batlow, for seasonal workers at least, hasn’t quite been the same since the 100-bed Wakehurst Hostel was destroyed in the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires.

Long a home away from home for the visiting workers and backpackers who descend on the town throughout the year, the converted old hospital building was one casualty of the fires that hit the town on the night of 4 January, 2020.

But this week the arrival of some very large packages, which trundled through town atop trucks, marks another significant milestone in the town’s recovery from the fires.

READ ALSO ‘A job still had to be done’: Jindy cop honoured for role during Black Summer, pandemic

Named the Itinerant Worker Accommodation Project, a suite of brand-new backpacker units have arrived and are taking up temporary residency on concrete slabs at the Batlow Cannery while site preparations at the Batlow Caravan Park progress.

The 10 prefabricated buildings were constructed offsite and include two blocks of 25-bed dormitories, six studio units, a camp kitchen and a very smart unisex amenities block.

The Itinerant Worker Accommodation Project was initiated to provide infrastructure to support the ongoing demand for tourist and itinerant worker accommodation in Batlow, to assist local industries in housing seasonal and construction workers supporting the recovery of the region.

The units are bound for a permanent position in the picturesque caravan park sited along Reedy Flat Creek which, due to a compliance audit, was midway through a transformation when the fires hit.

Thanks to $723,000 from the NSW Government’s Major Projects Infrastructure Fund, Snowy Valleys Council were able to undertake revitalisation works at the park and bring it back up to code.

The brand spanking new site is already proving a popular drawcard to visitors to the region.

Upgrade works included the clean-up and removal of dilapidated buildings, landscaping and the installation of new buildings including a new office building, new amenities with toilets, showers and laundry, and a new camp kitchen incorporating electric barbecue, sinks, food preparation benches and an external eating area.

Six two-bedroom cabins were also purchased by Snowy Valleys Council and installed as temporary affordable accommodation for residents impacted by the fires.

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The newly upgraded facility – which reopened in July 2020 – also includes nine powered sites suitable for caravans, motor-homes and tents, and more than 40 unpowered sites.

The new accommodation units have been welcomed by community and industry leaders, who say that after the loss of the hostel, and many of the town’s bed and breakfast accommodation – due to the fires and then two years of Covid restrictions – they were a sign the town was returning to some sort of normalcy.

People wishing to find out more about the facilities at Batlow Caravan Park should visit their website here.

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