Environment

Eight million dollars for Snowy Valleys to continue clearing work

Edwina Mason3 November 2021
Hume

About 120 kilometres of the 426-kilometre Hume and Hovell track were destroyed by bushfires in 2019-2020. Now, help in the form of an $8 million grant will help restore the trail in the Snowy Valleys. Photo: Supplied.

Snowy Valleys Council has welcomed the news they have secured more than $8 million in NSW Government bushfire recovery funding to continue bushfire clearing works.

The funding forms part of a $33 million fund provided to assist NSW local councils with the continued clean-up as communities rebuild following the devastating 2019-20 summer bushfires.

Snowy Valleys Council is to receive $7,484,023 for green waste recovery and $600,000 for fencing recycling.

Batlow

Visitors to Batlow have always taken the high road to Weemala lookout which offers unparalleled views over the town across to the Snowy Mountains in the east. Photo: Supplied.

Council CEO Matthew Hyde said the $7.4 million would allow council to implement clean-up and removal of green waste in public areas such as Reedy Creek and Weemala lookout and walking tracks in Batlow, Paddy’s River Falls and the Hume and Hovell Track.

Paddy’s River Falls was heavily impacted by the bushfires with the toilet block and picnic facilities partially destroyed. In October 2020, council announced a new toilet block had opened with new shelters also constructed, while work to remove fire-damaged trees and branches around the popular tourist attraction remains ongoing.

With more than 120km of track burnt and fire damage to scores of bridges, it has been a long road to recovery for the Hume and Hovell Track with 60 kilometres still to be restored, but the highly-used section from Henry Angel Campground all the way through to Mannus Lake opened just last month.

Mr Hyde said it had taken about 12 months for the council to secure the funding necessary to undertake the rehabilitation and recovery works.

Snowy Valleys Council tree team

Snowy Valleys Council’s tree team are still working to remove fire-affected trees and branches around Paddy’s River Falls. Photo: Snowy Valleys Council.

“We have been liaising closely with community groups who are understandably keen to see these impacted public spaces and walking tracks receive much-needed clean-up and repatriation,” Mr Hyde said.

He said the council had already removed and chipped more than 8000 loads of fire-impacted debris and timber from road corridors across the Snowy Valleys.

“This funding will now allow us to continue the green waste clean-up process in highly-valued community public spaces,” he said.

In the Snowy Valleys, it is estimated about 2500 kilometres of fencing was impacted by the fires, including 852km of boundary fencing.

Thanks to the NSW Government’s FenceCycle Program, fire-affected councils were able to apply for funding to remove burnt fencing waste from private land, allowing land to be returned to productive uses.

“The $600,000 from the FenceCycle program will be used to continue the collection and recycling of the metal components of burnt rural fencing materials that we successfully piloted in Jingellic and Tooma,” Mr Hyde said.

He said this was an important environmental solution that aimed to deal with fencing debris through recycling and reuse rather than harmful and illegal burial or landfilling.

Eurobodalla Council received $550,000 under the same scheme.

Snowy Valleys Council clean-up works are slated to commence later this year.

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