Council slashes red tape to support residents impacted by floods

The Hills Shire Council will look to waive fees for Development Application’s (DA’s) and repairs for flood affected residents during an Extraordinary Meeting of Council, as it helps the community to rebuild after the devastating March 2021 flood.

Council will also consider during Thursday’s (April 1) meeting, waiving fees for works associated with the piling and clearing of vegetation or debris caused by the flood and will also assist caravan parks to get back to business.

To also help flood affected residents, Council will also look at prioritising DA’s, construction certificates and any other Council applications associated with flood clean-up, support and repairs.

Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne said this was one way Council was helping residents get through yet another difficult period.

“We have all witnessed the devastating losses this flood has caused and part of the healing is the rebuilding process,” Mayor Byrne said.

“Cleaning up, rebuilding homes and repairing and replacing anything else that was damaged and lost in this natural disaster will take some time, and we must ensure the process of rebuilding does not become economically unviable and a strain on families and businesses.

“That’s why we are proposing a suite of initiatives that will help our residents to recover with ease and without the added stress of needing to go through lengthy approval periods,” Mayor Byrne added.

Mayor Byrne said Council and emergency services, including the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) and the Rural Fire Service (RFS), and NSW Government departments, including the Local Land Services and Resilience NSW, had been working tirelessly and around the clock to provide relief and support to those who had been affected.

“Both our urban and rural parts of our Shire were impacted by this heavy rain event. While the urban parts of our Shire are almost back to business, our focus is now on our rural region, along the Hawkesbury River – from Wisemans Ferry to Cattai – which was the worse hit by this flood,” Mayor Byrne said.

“Council crews have been working to re-open roads, clear drains and clean up our parks and other community facilities which have been impacted by this natural disaster. We’ve also had Council officers assisting our emergency services, as well as coordinating the clean-up efforts through State Government agencies.

“There are some sites within the Shire that require large machinery to remove debris and waste, which has washed up during the flooding. Resilience NSW is helping to deploy heavy plant machinery to affected areas.

“We’ve worked hard to maintain garbage services throughout our region. Some areas were impacted by the floods, including sections of River Road and Pages Wharf Road in North Sackville. We’ve advised those residents to leave their bins out and to bag any excess rubbish and leave next to their bins. Collection will occur as soon as access is available.

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