14 September 2020

Tailored help for bushfire victims wanting to rebuild

| Sharon Kelley
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BVSC Mayor Kristy McBain urges those affected by bushfires to come and register for assistance. Photo: Supplied

Bega Valley Shire Council is expanding bushfire recovery resources. Photo: Supplied.

Bega Valley Shire Council is expanding its bushfire recovery resources by introducing Pathway Home workshops and drop-in sessions in Eden and Cobargo later this month.

The workshops are for people who are ready to plan for a new home, with recovery and rebuilding support being delivered at a pace unique to every affected resident.

“The Pathway Home workshop will offer expert advice on pre-planning issues for people who are ready to think about rebuilding their home,” Bega Valley Shire Mayor Sharon Tapscott said.

READ ALSO Sharpening the focus on bushfire recovery in Bega

“We understand that everyone recovers at different speeds and, for this reason, the Cuppa and Chat sessions around the shire will continue in partnership with a number of agencies and services.

“Many people are continuing to adjust to a world changed by bushfires and COVID-19, and for these people thoughts of rebuilding may still be a long way off.

“There is no rush as other resources for the rebuilding process will continue to be available. Please continue reaching out at your local Cuppa and Chat session where a supportive community is there to hear you.

“If, however, you are eager to rebuild something better and more resilient, then please take the opportunity to attend a Pathway Home workshop.”

The workshops will be conducted by the principal architect for Tim Lee Architects, Tim Lee.

“Tim Lee is a wealth of knowledge and experience, and his advice on siting a house, infrastructure considerations, bushfire planning, and building to BAL ratings will be extremely valuable,” Cr Tapscott said.

BAL, or Bushfire Attack Level, ratings are used to assess the risk from flame, embers, and heat on bushfire-prone land where people want to build or rebuild.

New Bega Valley Shire Mayor Sharon Tapscott has replaced the outgoing Kristy McBain.

Bega Valley Shire Mayor Sharon Tapscott has announced the Pathway to Home workshops. Photo: Supplied.

Council’s Environmental Health and Building Officer Garry Cooper said council was giving free BAL rating assessments to residents who lost their home in the summer bushfires.

“Getting a BAL rating assessment on your property is a necessary step when thinking about rebuilding your home,” he said.

“The outcome of a BAL rating assessment determines the level of construction required to suit the surrounding environment and to comply with Australian Standards and NSW RFS Planning for Bushfire Protection requirements.

“We recognise the additional costs of rebuilding more resilient homes, which is why council is continuing to cover the cost of BAL rating assessments to those who lost their home in the summer bushfires.”

READ ALSO Bega Valley Shire Council launches needs survey

Cr Tapscott said specialist council staff would be on hand to help anyone who couldn’t make it to a Tim Lee workshop. The workshops are free to attend but bookings are essential.

The Pathway Home workshop will be held on Thursday 17 September at the Cobargo School of Arts Hall, and Friday 18 September at the Eden Log Cabin.

The one-hour workshop times will start at 1:30 pm, 3 pm, 4:30 pm, and 6 pm. Each session will have a maximum of 10 participants.

Book your workshop tickets for the Cobargo sessions or the Eden sessions. Email council’s Development Application Hub to book a free BAL rating assessment or call 6499 2209.

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This is great. Many of us feel forgotten, we still have to replace fences, rebuild sheds, replace outdoor equipment, play equipment, gardening tools and lots of plants. We’re still buying drinking water and hay for hungry animals, plus all the normal living expenses.
Apart from that, mental health is such a huge issue, you can fool some of the people some of the time…..it’s hard, one day you feel good, on your way back to normal when, suddenly, for no reason you get swamped by emotion!
People still need help.

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