Opinion/Comment, Social media stories

Council needs to re-think Orara Valley bushfire grant money priorities

The Orara Valley Community has been allocated $1,000,000 from the Federal Govt for Bushfire Recovery. Have you seen what our Local Council has decided to spend the money on, with very little public consultation?

By Kellie Pearce

This is what the Orara Valley looked like in parts the night of 12 November last year. Picture Coffs Coast Focus magazine – via Google Images.

Remembering, these grants are meant to be spent on Bushfire Recovery, the council has allocated nearly half of the funds already as follows;

An Interim Program of Works worth $416,784 was agreed. These were:

  • Nana Glen Community Hall – installation of solar panels and air-conditioning, $70,000.
  • Community Led Recovery Event – a single whole-of-community event with activities and entertainment to bring everyone together, $50,000.
  • Business and Tourism Support – Strategies to attract visitors, $68,000.
  • Appointment of a 12-month Community Recovery Officer with experience and skills in disaster recovery, $150,000.
  • Lower Bucca Community Preschool for the refurbishment of existing amenities and undercover outdoor area, $78,784.

Yet the Lower Bucca Community was not affected by the fires. This is clearly a case of council redirecting funds to cover their own funding needs in the opinion of many in the Valley.

$50,000 for a “Whole-of-community” event when people still have no homes?

We have roads needing repair, bridges that are not passable.

We have an entire town (Nana Glen) with no public toilets, no safe community meeting place, no storage for emergency facilities.

No funds have been allocated to any emergency service, such as the RFS, SES or Heart Start.

Nothing has been to local Wildlife rescue. But funds for ‘strategies’? Nearly $70,000.

Kellie Pearce – Photo – from her Facebook page

Edit update. As of 5pm today (Monday 17 February, 2020) I have not been given permission to speak at next council meeting after asking permission to do so.

I think council need to look more closely at their priorities.

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First published and updated at the Coffs Harbour City Council Ratepayers, Residents & Business Owners Facebook page. Monday 17 February 2020. See; https://www.facebook.com/groups/326166850803871/permalink/2700321893388343/

  • Slight edits by CCO

6 Comments

  1. Did we really expect any common sense to go into the allocation of this “Bush-fire Grant” from our Council

  2. Connie Seward

    44 properties directly impacted.
    Very little has actually happened on the ground.
    The council officer who has been mapping and visiting said properties for months now, has been very good.
    The immediate priorities for most have been immediate repair of severely damaged local roads. Then future repairs of Orara Way.
    Removal of burnt forest debris around properties and water courses.
    Environmental repair and revegetation of wildlife habitat.
    Priority in replacing fences with those with stock first.
    Communication in many areas is poor, especially Mobile reception .
    Three months and many can not live on properties. To get any clean up of debris means doing it yourself if you can.
    If some of these works were commenced before the floods we would not have had the severity of erosion and debris spread across the area ending in water courses etc.
    A $50,000 feel good event is a waste of money. Local business in the Orara Valley including Glenreagh have suffered. This is the only item I would leave in the priority list.
    As for $150,000 for coordinator this is $3,000 per week! You have to wonder who is in control of the blood bank.
    We have had many meetings and theses figures are absurd. And they were *not* the priorities discussed as being needed for immediate attention.
    70000 for aircon and solar! !!!
    How many halls are they doing?

  3. Do not concern yourself, Jimmy will fix it, leave it to the stooges for the Nats. They will sort out the funding for the communitytrust them.

    This is fantastic ,the sports grants lives another another day. As Mc Cormack said yesterday”I always believe country people,when they look you in the eye.”

    Just not Barnaby.

  4. Just when you thought CHCC had done all it could to prove its unworthiness, they come up with this absurd crap!

    Bushfire recovery funds are meant to go to bushfire recovery. Which moron has categorized refurbishment of a pre-school, in a non-affected area, as bushfire recovery?

  5. Councillor Paul Amos, passed the motion* to approve the grant for the pre school in Bucca. He was unavailable for comment this morning on radio.

    Again displayed is the flawed process of council decisions.The whole antiquated councillor role needs a major overhaul, probably replaced with a paid experienced panel of administrators.

    Its like something from colonial days, dare I say even the remuneration, passing motions, seconded, etc. Could someone please explain the qualifications of councillors to make important decisions for ratepayers?

    Imagine major corporations like Fortesque making investment decisions, with staff with little or no experience /qualification. Just dont mention Bridget.!!

  6. Cr Amos is a bit of a snake in the grass. After continually voting against the progression of the CCCC, suddenly votes in favour to demolish buildings on Gordon Street before the CCCC has been given the nod. What happens if the CCCC DA gets knocked back? Wouldn’t retaining the existing leaseable buildings be a safer option? Does he know something the rest of us don’t?

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