Council spend on bushfire recovery

Bushfire recovery grant money has been used to support Mountains residents whose properties burnt, provide counselling, legal and health advice and help revive tourism and battered small businesses.

A substantial amount was also spent on waste removal, restoring burnt infrastructure such as road signs and guide posts and removing or pruning more than 1,200 trees along roadsides to ensure safe travel.

Details of how council spent more than $2.3 million was outlined in a report by the CEO at the last council meeting.

Dr Rosemary Dillon said council had received $1.46m from the commonweath and $875,000 from the state government to January 2021, to support the bushfire recovery.

Further grants delivered the Wollemi Artisan Markets in Katoomba and will fund the installation of art in five Katoomba laneways.

Dr Dillon noted other smaller grants, including from Greater Sydney Local Land Services which was earmarked for managing erosion and weeds in some of the most severely burnt areas as well as fox control in the Upper Mountains.

A resilience officer has been employed with grant money to help identify community needs and to develop local recovery programs.

Dr Dillon's report came as Senator Marise Payne announced two additional grants last week.

The Blue Mountains World Heritage Institute will receive $130,000 for its project, Community response for fire recovery in the Blue Gum Forest and Grose Valley.

The project will examine all parts of the valley ecosystem in relation to climate and fire, with modelling and future management scenarios mapped out.

The Institute will work with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Sydney University, volunteer citizen scientists from the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, Wildplant Rescue, WIRES and local bushcare groups.

Blackheath's Campbell Rhododendron Gardens will also benefit with $12,500 to replace boundary fencing and stabilise a major watercourse running through the gardens.

The Blue Mountains Rhododendron Society of NSW, which manages the gardens, will receive the money.

Gospers Mountain fire: As seen from Evans Lookout, Blackheath on December 15, 2019. Photo by Brigitte Grant Photography

Gospers Mountain fire: As seen from Evans Lookout, Blackheath on December 15, 2019. Photo by Brigitte Grant Photography

Mt Tomah: Property loss on Bells Line of Road in December 2019. Photo by Top Notch Video

Mt Tomah: Property loss on Bells Line of Road in December 2019. Photo by Top Notch Video

The Mountains missed out on any money in stage one of the state government's local economic recovery fund. Some $177 million was allocated, all but $2.5 million going to Coalition-held seats.

Dr Dillon's report noted that council had submitted applications for six key projects in stage two of the grant. These include for the continued development of the Cliff Top Walk, the rehabilitation of the Charles Darwin Walk and for improved capacity in the dam at Blackheath Golf Club, used by fire fighters.