Eight million dollars for Snowy Valleys to continue clearing work

About 120 kilometers of the 426 kilometers of Hume and Hovell track were destroyed by bushfires in 2019-2020. Now, assistance in the form of a grant of $ 8 million will help restore the trail in the Snowy Valleys. Photo: Supplied.

The Snowy Valleys Council welcomed the news that it had secured more than $ 8 million in bushfire recovery funds from the NSW government to continue the bushfire clean-up work.

The funding is part of a $ 33 million fund provided to help NSW local councils continue cleanup as communities rebuild following the devastating bushfires of the summer of 2019-2020.

Snowy Valleys Council will receive $ 7,484,023 for green waste recovery and $ 600,000 for fence recycling.

Batlow

Visitors to Batlow have always taken the main road to the Weemala Lookout, which offers stunning views across the city to the snow-capped mountains to the east. Photo: Supplied.

Board CEO Matthew Hyde said the $ 7.4 million would allow the board to implement cleanup and green waste disposal in public spaces such as the Reedy Creek and Weemala Lookout and the walking trails at Batlow, Paddy’s River Falls and Hume and Hovell Track.

The Paddy River Falls were heavily affected by the bush fires, with the toilet block and picnic facilities partially destroyed. In October 2020, the council announced the opening of a new sanitary block with new shelters also being built, while work to remove fire damaged trees and branches around the popular tourist attraction continues.

With over 120 km of trail burned and fire damage to dozens of bridges, the recovery path was long for the Hume and Hovell Trail with 60 km still to be restored, but the heavily used section of the campground Henry Angel all the way to Mannus Lake opened last month.

Mr Hyde said it took about 12 months for the council to secure the funding needed to undertake the rehabilitation and salvage work.

Snowy Valleys Council Tree Team

The Snowy Valleys Council Tree Team is still working to remove fire-affected trees and branches from around Paddy River Falls. Photo: Snowy Valleys Council.

“We have been in close contact with community groups who naturally want these affected public spaces and walking trails to be cleaned up and repatriated,” Hyde said.

He said the council had already removed and chipped more than 8,000 loads of fire-affected debris and wood from road corridors through the Snowy Valleys.

“This funding will now allow us to continue the process of cleaning up green waste in high-value community public spaces,” he said.

In the Snowy Valleys, it is estimated that approximately 2,500 km of fencing was affected by the fires, including 852 km of boundary fencing.

Through the NSW Government’s FenceCycle program, fire-affected councils were able to apply for funding to remove burnt fence waste from private land, allowing the land to become productive again.

“The $ 600,000 from the FenceCycle program will be used to continue the collection and recycling of metal components from burnt rural fence materials that we have successfully piloted at Jingellic and Tooma,” said Mr. Hyde.

He said it was an important environmental solution that aimed to treat fence debris through recycling and reuse rather than harmful and illegal landfill or landfill.

The Eurobodalla Council received $ 550,000 under the same program.

Snowy Valleys Council cleanup is expected to begin later this year.

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