23 January 2020

Snowy 2.0 work begins again after fire, despite major losses

| Elka Wood
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Several buildings were lost

Several buildings were lost at Snowy Hydro when the Dunns Road fire hit. Photo: Snowy Hydro.

Despite suffering “major losses” in their operational township of Cabramurra after the Dunns Road fire passed through it, the Snowy Hydro 2.0 team re-started work this week, saying that the project will be a key part of the region’s recovery.

A total of 36 houses were destroyed in the 4 January fire, along with several of the unit blocks, the school and the old ski club.

History was lost when the fire took Edinburgh Cottage, where many members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, have stayed over the years.

“Thankfully the main buildings housing the bistro and general store, the fuel depot and other buildings are all standing and will be a great base to rebuild from. Services have been restored to the township including power, water and sewerage,” says a spokesperson.

The team is clear that the most important thing is that all staff from Kosciuszko National Park were evacuated well before the fire front passed through and that no-one from Snowy was hurt or injured.

Lobs Hole on 4 January

Lobs Hole on Saturday, 4 January. Photo: Supplied.

The good news is that the Snowy 2.0 site at Lobs Hole fared well and all the power stations are still operational.

Snowy Hydro continues to work closely with the Rural Fire Service and National Parks and Wildlife Service to establish safe access for staff, surveying and clearing trees which are at risk of falling.

“Cabramurra is an important part of Snowy’s history and we’re already working on plans to rebuild the town. We plan to use the latest fire-resistant building technologies to help the town withstand future bushfire threats,” the spokesperson says.

“Please be aware that the Cabramurra township is temporarily closed to the public due to safety reasons and there is currently no access to the town, with roads in the area and the township expected to remain closed for some months.”

The public health risks in the area include asbestos and require specialist remediation and demolition, which will take time.

Work on the Snowy 2.0 project construction site at Lobs Hole is underway again, with far less damage to plant and equipment occurring from the bushfires than first anticipated.

“Our staff, Snowy 2.0 contractors and project suppliers are currently re-mobilising to site and the bulk of the workforce will be back at work by the end of this week. The immediate tasks for the project are continuing with road construction, the main access portal excavation and site camp set-up, along with replacing lost ancillary equipment,” the spokesperson explains.

“Our sincere thanks go out to each and every volunteer firefighter and all emergency services personnel. Your dedication and commitment in the face of this disaster have been invaluable,” the spokesperson adds.

“Snowy Hydro has always been a significant contributor to the region’s economy. Our business and progress on Snowy 2.0 will be a key part of the region’s recovery – let the rebuilding begin!”

Snowy Hydro’s retailers Red Energy and Lumo Energy are expanding their bushfire financial assistance to support volunteer firefighters and help more customers affected across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and South East Queensland.

Any customers in bushfire-affected areas should call the Red Energy Customer Care Team at their convenience on 131 806, or the Lumo Energy Customer Care Team on 1300 714 563, to claim the $200 bill credit.

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