29 July 2022

New images show resilience centre to be built in wake of horrific bushfires in Cobargo

| Albert McKnight
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Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre

A rendered image of the planned Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre. Image: TAKT Studio.

Newly-released images have given Cobargo residents an idea of what the multi-million dollar centre proposed for the town’s main street will look like in the wake of the horrifying bushfires.

Two-and-a-half years after the Black Summer bushfires gutted the town, destroying several of its buildings, TAKT Studio has released images of the future Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre.

The news comes at a time when vice-chair of the centre, Ronnie Ayliffe, said there was frustration in the town still recovering from the disaster about how much work still needed to be done.

But she said she heard from survivors of the devastating 2009 Black Saturday fires that recovery was a 10-year process.

“We often speak of resilience in terms of post-traumatic growth,” she said.

“When life gives you lemons, sometimes you try your best to make lemonade out of it. You just keep on keeping on.

“They are just getting on with it, they are trying their best every day to help each other. I see a lot of that.”

Ms Ayliffe said the decision to create the resilience centre came out of a desire to put infrastructure that had a purpose back on the town’s main street.

“It’s very restorative to put some buildings back,” she said.

“What it offers to the region is quite unique. There’s a lot going into a small area.”

Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre entry

The planned entry hall for the Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre. Image: TAKT Studio.

The centre will be both a gathering place for the community and a unique tourism offering for the region.

It will contain a state-of-the-art theatrette, a flexible exhibition/display space, a commemorative courtyard and contemplation area, as well as a small street-front café with a retail shop.

These spaces will be connected by a spine that will house a permanent collection of material honouring the NSW Rural Fire Service and the recovery and resilience journey of the region.

READ ALSO Cobargo’s revamped pole art project tells the stories of its community 20 years on

The Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund is providing $4.8 million for its construction and TAKT Studio is creating the full design for the project.

The centre will be built at 70-72 Princes Highway Cobargo and the land for it is being donated by the Ayliffe family as well as Matt Morris.

Ms Ayliffe has a special attachment to the land donated by her family, as it had been owned by three generations of them over eight decades.

Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre cafe

The planned cafe and shop for the Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre. Image: TAKT Studio.

The shop that was destroyed on their block, which along with the building next door were the first two to be hit by the fire when it reached the main street, has hosted a general store, a motorcycle dealership and an artist’s studio/gallery.

Ms Ayliffe also said the project was partnering with several organisations, such as the University of Canberra, Monash University, as well as the National Library and National Museum, so they were able to build conversations together.

READ ALSO Leaf by leaf, Cobargo region forges tree of steel bushfire memorial

“Resilience is not getting it done, resilience is having lots and lots of community around you,” she said.

“Through that, you actually build something that’s strong.”

She said she was “utterly thrilled” with the design from TAKT and the project was about to go to Bega Valley Shire Council with a development application.

She hoped the project would be able to go to tender by the end of 2022.

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Yuk. Not at all enticing. Dark exterior is funerial. It’s not in keeping with the remainder of the streetscape. No visitor will have a clue what CBRC means, let alone offers. And yet another cafe in town!

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