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