Blue Mountains City Council has welcomed the announcement that three of its bushfire recovery projects, valued at $5.3 million, have been funded by the Australian and NSW governments.
Grants, under Stream 2 of the Local Bushfire Economic Recovery Fund, have been awarded for the following projects:
- The Grand Cliff Top Walk – A World Class Bushwalking Experience ($4 million)
- Improving Resilience and Infrastructure for Isolated Blue Mountains Communities – Mount Wilson, Mount Tomah, Mount Irvine ($814,000), and the
- Blackheath Golf Course Retention Dam ($500,000).
Council also partnered with Blue Mountains Tourism for the Blue Mountains Visitor Economy Revitalisation Project, valued at $2.6 million, and this has also been successful.
Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said it was excellent news that significant funding had now been directed to Blue Mountains City following the 2019/20 summer bushfires.
“Our agitation and disappointment after the last round of Local Bushfire Economic Recovery Funding has shone a light on the plight of the Blue Mountains,” Mayor Greenhill said. “These successful projects will retain and create new jobs in our City, build resilience and increase preparedness for future bushfire season.”
Council made six applications to the Local Bushfire Economic Recovery Fund (Stream 2), for projects. Council also partnered with three other applications from community groups.
The Grand Cliff Top Walk is a joint tourism initiative of Council and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to develop a world class 13.6km multi-day walk providing spectacular views of the escarpment and Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The initiative seeks to drive nature-focused tourism by delivering greater accessibility to iconic Blue Mountains locations from Wentworth Falls to Katoomba, including the Charles Darwin Walk. The proposal is responsive to the demand for nature-based experiences and will act to stimulate village-based services and business opportunities, providing economic and employment growth.
Council will contribute $440,000 to this project.
“Bushwalking is one of the most important recreational activities in the City with the highest
per capita participation,” Mayor Greenhill said: “The restoration of the flood damaged walking tracks, closed since February 2020, and their improvement will be of great benefit to the local community that has been hit hard by bush fire, flood and COVID-19. The opportunity to recreate and access nature provides positive health and wellbeing outcomes for the community.”
Improvements to community facilities at Mount Wilson, Mount Irvine and Mount Tomah will improve resilience to natural disasters, improve local social wellbeing, as well as community and visitor infrastructure. This includes:
- Additions and alterations to Mount Wilson Hall
- Upgrade of toilets at Founders Corner, the Avenue, Mount Wilson
- Upgrade of toilets at Silva Plana, 12-14 the Avenue, Mount Wilson
- Renewal of Mount Irvine Community court
- Supply and installation of water tanks at Mount Tomah.
“This project will meet multiple outcomes. This project will provide the isolated communities of Mount Wilson, Mount Irvine and Mount Tomah with facilities for ongoing community use, across a range of facilities,” Mayor Greenhill said.
The Blackheath Golf Course Retention Dam is part of strategic firefighting infrastructure in the Upper Blue Mountains, and was a frequently used source of water during the 2019-2020 bushfires. This project involves the construction of a new drainage system that will divert stormwater into the dam, significantly improving its capacity.
“This will support firefighting activities in the vicinity of Blackheath and the Upper Blue Mountains region and strengthen the community’s resilience to future natural disasters,” Mayor Greenhill said.
Meanwhile, the Blue Mountains Visitor Economy Revitalisation Project is a two-year destination management program that will reinstate the Blue Mountains as a key tourist destination in NSW and Australia. It involves destination branding, marketing, website development, major events, industry communications, and a business resilience program.
Jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments, the Local Bushfire Economic Recovery Fund supports social and economic recovery in regional communities most affected by the 2019-202 bushfires.
A full list of successful projects is available at https://recovery.gov.au/project-list.