Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes says recent criticism on social media claiming Mogo’s bushfire recovery was taking too long is understandable.
Clr Innes was responding to claims by a Mogo business owner blaming Council for delays in rebuilding, lack of accessible toilet, a missing barbecue, and the overgrown creek. The The Mogo Lolly Shop posted on their social media page: Shame shame shame on the Eurobodalla Council! It’s been almost 14 months now since the Black Summer Bushfires. I watch and I wait for the buildings across from my store to begin rebuilding but I consistently hear of the struggles these folks are having with the ESC. Pictured below is our once beautiful Mogo Creek which now is full of weeds and burned plants, the weeds are invading and choking the creek.
Where is our missing community BBQ facility that the council removed and promised to return? Where’s the central toilet block in John Street Reserve that was approved in December 2019 which would give access to the elderly and disabled. Yeah yeah you resurfaced Annette Street and put in a footpath that we have needed for many years, but what about resurfacing our footpaths that have become trip hazards to the disabled and elderly who visit our Main Street! What about our non existent town sign that should welcome people to our village on the Moruya side of our village that was taken by the bushfire? Our once beautiful village has seen no progress! The empty blocks across the road with their orange or chicken mesh fences a constant reminder of my missing neighbours. Their once beautiful front gardens and well kept lawns behind their stores was something to be proud of! The battle the ESC creates for the landowners to begin rebuilding. Our village had never been busier than what it is right now. I am completely disillusioned by our council and disappointed that they are making our road to recovery such a battle. Get your shit together Eurobodalla Council! I have sat back and shut up and kept my opinions to myself for 14 months and now I am publicly saying you should be bloody ashamed of yourselves as our council. Where’s our progress? Where’s our towns recovery? In a media release issued on Friday 19th Feb 2021 the Mayor said while she understood the frustrations, "Mogo had in fact received significant assistance from Council."
“When it comes to private land, decisions on maintenance and whether to rebuild are the choice of property owners,” Clr Innes said.
“We know some people are either not ready to rebuild yet, while others were under-insured. That doesn’t mean Council is putting up obstacles. Quite the opposite – we’ve done a lot to make things as easy as we can, providing free BAL certificates, successfully lobbying the NSW Government to remove offsets for vegetation clearing, and enabling owners to set up temporary dwellings.”
Clr Innes said Council had also put a lot of resource into fast-tracking Development Applications (DAs) when they are lodged.
“From the 246 DAs bushfire rebuilds submitted we’ve approved 205, with an average processing time of 36 days – more than ten families have moved back into rebuilt homes,” she said.
“We’ve also worked with Mogo businesses and organisations to assist the village recovery overall, helping set up the temporary mall – provided rent-free by Biz Rebuild – to enable business to continue trading while they rebuild.
“Many fire affected businesses chose to work with the specialist planning consultants we engaged, resulting in changes to our building codes for car parking and building set-backs and making development applications simpler. This culminated in a workshop for businesses to support them in preparing DAs.
“As far as we’re aware, these businesses are very happy with the help they’ve received from us,” adding that "the fires had provided an opportunity for Council to reassess Mogo’s infrastructure."
“The village deserves well-planned facilities for residents and visitors,” she said. “To that end, we’re spending bushfire recovery funding on town planning, collaborating with Mogo’s community to find the best results for the whole village, including infrastructure like toilets, parks, parking, picnic tables and barbecues,” she said.
“The Mogo Village Place Activation Plan will be finished in the next six months, and having a comprehensive and strategic approach means Council can attract funding for things like an accessible public toilet in a well-sited location.”
The Mayor's media release said that Council’s tourism marketing and public relations had also been focussed on Mogo in 2020.
“That’s really paid off, with Spendmap data showing $22 million was spent at Mogo businesses between January and December,” Clr Innes said.
“That’s a $2 million increase on 2019, with 62 per cent of that spent by visitors to our region. A family fun day in April and bike event in May should help boost numbers in 2021.”
In her media release in response to the social media post by the The Mogo Lolly Shop she said "infrastructure and beautification of the village continued, with significant work at Annetts Street and new footpaths, and some maintenance due on other footpaths in the coming months".
“We’ve been helping landholders with the creek. Although it’s on private land, we’re assisting with weed management this week and have offered funding for creek rehabilitation,” she said.
“Beautiful new town signs, developed in consultation with the community, are on the way. We’ve taken the time to get them right, with Aboriginal art and language included, and they’re going to look wonderful once installed,” adding "there was, of course, still much to be done".
“More than 100 client families from Mogo and surrounding areas are receiving case management services through Eurobodalla’s bushfire recovery support service.
“I urge people to work with us on Council-related issues. Sure, it’s easy to get worked up on social media but it’s unproductive,” she said.
“Please remember, anyone struggling with recovery can contact our bushfire recovery service on 4474 7434, and for rebuilding, contact our development helpdesk on 4474 1231.” In response to the above statement issued by the Mayor the The Mogo Lolly Shop posted on their social media page: UPDATE Saturday 20th February 2021 5.51am ..... the ESC Mayor Liz Innes has now responded on their website her claim that my venting on social media was unproductive! Obviously NOT! On Thursday the council was seen behind the shopping complex known as The Heart Of Mogo and Friday ESC arrived very disorganisedly swinging from the town bridge cutting burned limbs off trees. I would bet the farm that this was unscheduled works! I also note that in her response she advises that there are still over 30 DAs that have not been passed through council. That would be due to the council asking the building owners to wait for their study on streetscape to be finalised which there is currently no answer for the land owners. I also note that her beautifully worded paragraph about our town signage omits the information that the signs will not happen until 2022. Shouldn’t our town signage have been covered under the councils signage insurance policy?? The Botanical Gardens signage took less than a year to be remade and installed! Let’s also recall that the council had, pre bushfire, already drafted plans for the John Street Reserve to INCLUDE pathways for the disabled and elderly and it contained the Council Approved Public Rest Room that I had been fighting the council for with my 76 page petition of signatures and further documentation about discrimination. As I said in my original post Yes the council had finally upgraded Anette Street but the walkway between Anette St and the Charles Street car park where the temporary mall is currently located is an absolute joke! Their shitty gravel pathway is not accessible to anyone in a wheelchair, walker or pram! When it rains this access pathway turns into a big bog hole and I have seen myself pallets laid over the large puddles for able bodied folks to get across. This town plan that she mentions is yet another 6 months away from completion! (Her words) are just NOT good enough! Her figures that 10 families of 246 buildings lost have now moved into their homes. But let’s not forget about the Able family who have had to install a $25,000 underground water tank and don’t qualify under the governments grant for any financial assistance with that cost, because they don’t fit the typical mould of the word “family” last time I checked brothers where indeed family! Or other residents that are now being forced to put in roads to their properties which had never been required pre fires. The claim by Mayor Innis that those that lost their homes have been “allowed” to live in temporary dwellings on their own blocks is a disgraceful statement. Had she expected them to live where exactly after the bushfires??? Let’s remember that there is already a rental property shortage here on the south coast. So Mayor Innis you’ve given your response and I am now giving you mine. #angry#disillusioned#annoyed#pissedoff#whathappenedtoourrecovery#mogovillage#themogolollyshop#shame#eurobodallacouncil#getyourshittogether