10 November 2023

Bega businesses in the spotlight as part of bushfire recovery project

| Zoe Cartwright
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Eastwoods at Bermagui

Eastwoods at Bermagui is one of the businesses Bega Valley Council is showcasing as part of a bushfire recovery grant initiative. Photo: Bega Valley Council.

The tenacity of Bega businesses is on display as part of Black Summer recovery and resilience efforts.

This week the Bega Valley Shire Council hit a milestone in a project funded by grants from the Australian Government’s National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

The funds were used to research and develop case studies of local businesses that have survived – and thrived – in the wake of the fires.

The case studies highlight support services, grant funding and investment opportunities that have helped businesses navigate their recovery and resilience journey, with a focus on diversification, innovation and transition to a circular economy.

The council’s economic development officer, Peter Wild said the ‘Business Stories of Change’ project celebrated local businesses’ determination and resourcefulness.

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“We are proud to unveil the first four captivating stories about four local businesses: Eastwoods Deli, the Triangle Tool Library, Ocean2Earth and Recycling Technologies Group,” Mr Wild said.

“A further six stories will be released in coming months.

“The stories serve as a testament to the spirit of our local entrepreneurs and their ability to overcome adversity.

“They highlight the struggles businesses experienced during and after the fires and the COVID-19 pandemic and explore the innovative solutions they used not only to recover but to thrive.

“The stories also delve into the specific challenges and hurdles encountered and the strategies employed to rebuild and strengthen businesses.

“From small family-owned enterprises to businesses that have secured business partnerships with large, well known organisations, this project provides insights into the experiences of businesses throughout the shire.

“Each story features interviews with business owners, employees and community members, showcasing the tight-knit fabric of the Bega Valley community and its commitment to collective recovery.”

One of the featured businesses, the Triangle Tool Library, is an example of how a disaster can trigger collective action and foster new business ventures.

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A yearly $50 membership grants people access to around 450 tools, as well as advice on how to tackle building projects and, importantly, social connections.

The library currently boasts 300 members, and the inventory continues to grow thanks to donations and grants, including $134,000 under the NSW Government’s Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund.

Recent additions include fully equipped ‘resilience trailers’ complete with everything one might need for large-scale building, gardening, and fencing jobs.

The Tool Library has an environmental benefit by reducing the consumption of resource-intensive power tools.

With cheap, low-quality equipment and appliances so readily available, it’s not uncommon for people to purchase a tool for a one-off job and dispose of it once complete or when the equipment no longer works.

By becoming a member of the Triangle Tool Library, community members can make a more sustainable choice by utilising high-quality, regularly maintained tools on a needs basis, without putting a dent in the pocket.

Check out the library’s Business Stories of Change video, along with the other case studies through the council’s website.

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