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Mogo recovery being fast tracked

The Mogo community will soon be welcoming two new faces to their bushfire recovery. With recent visits by leading politicians to see first hand the recovery of the township and to hear of the many frustrations, concerns and disappointments held by the community identifying hurdles and blockages a commitment has been made to provide two more key personal for three months to oversee and expedite what is being delivered and to assist in working through any issues and concerns. Work has already started on clearing out Mogo Creek of bushfire debris. Initially Council, via the Mayor, had said that the Council had not “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.” Source The Mayor's comment was found to be in error when it was revealed that the Creek is not on private land and is actually Crown Reserve 33118 under Crown Lands management. Every local council in NSW participates in the management of Crown reserves as an appointed CLM. Together, councils manage more than 6,000 Crown reserves. In many cases, councils also rely on volunteer groups and individuals to provide management support. In the case of Mogo Creek the community have done their best to keep the wattle growth at bay and have succeeded in lobbying Council to undertake thinning and to carry out weed control. Another recent commitment from Council has been the "fast tracking" of footpaths around the town, mainly in the vicinity of the Oval. At its meeting on 7 April 2020, Council allocated $1,416,667 to a number of projects under the ‘Disaster Recovery Funding – Commonwealth Government, Councils Affected by Bushfires’ funding provided by the Australian Government through the National Bushfire Recovery Agency. The Mayor said on March 9th 2021, soon after a visit by senior politicians noting disappointment at the headway they saw, saying "A number of these projects are finalised or close to finalisation and there is $115,000 of savings remaining from this funding. I propose Council allocates this residual funding to the construction of a footpath that connects the Mogo Village with the Mogo oval and playground." While this is an admirable gesture and the fact that the Mogo Public School utilises Mogo Sportsground for sporting and recreational activities with no formal pathways to the oval along Church Street or Park Street, Mogo, it could be argued that to use ‘Disaster Recovery Funding – Commonwealth Government, Councils Affected by Bushfires’ funding provided by the Australian Government through the National Bushfire Recovery Agency for this project rather than funds from Council's own Footpath Strategy budget remain questionable. The two new representatives will be available to address many of the ongoing concerns that are being raised by the community around the role of Council in providing measurable and evident recovery solutions fourteen months after the fires. When questioned in regards to the Disaster Relief funds that had been received by Council and the failure to see anything on the ground the Mayor said on February 18th, 2021 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,” the Mayor, Liz Innes, 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.”

Once again the community were disappointed to learn that Disaster Relief funds were being spent on a Town Planning project for Mogo. Once again it appeared that Council was using Disaster Relief funds to make savings from their own funds on a project that was not directly Bushfire related as it was more related to Strategic Town Planning with the Mayor saying "the fires had provided an opportunity for Council to reassess Mogo’s infrastructure" Council may say that the Mogo Village Place Activation Plan is to "include infrastructure like toilets, parks, parking, picnic tables and barbecues," however the Mogo Chamber and Mogo Community have been pressing Council for over a decade to deliver such a plan. Under Council's Delivery Plan SIX MONTHLY PERFORMANCE UPDATE July – December 2020 6. RESPONSIBLE AND BALANCED DEVELOPMENT Advocate and seek funding for Strategic Town Planning in towns and villages Advocate and seek funding for Strategic Town Planning in towns and villages Council continues to advocate and seek funding to strategic plan our towns and villages. Council is continuing to advocate to the NSW Government to fund and prepare a town centre master plan for Moruya as part the of Moruya bypass and Eurobodalla Regional Hospital projects. A project brief was sent out requesting for quotes for consultants to prepare the Mogo Village Place Activation Plan. The plan is the second stage of the Mogo rebuild process which seeks to further activate the local economy of Mogo and strengthen community resilience in the village since the bushfires. From the Mayor's comments of February 18th, 2021 it appears that this plan will not be available for tabling, community feedback or activation until July at the least. Resilience NSW are the lead disaster management agency for NSW, responsible for all aspects of disaster recovery and building community resilience to future disasters. They oversee and coordinate emergency management policy and service delivery with a focus on social, economic, infrastructure and natural environment outcomes.

Playing a key role by leading a whole of government approach to disaster recovery and resilience, they ensure people are cared for, acknowledged and empowered.

Above: Mogo Creek is now being cleared of bushfire debris after Council reminded it is under their care and control

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