Cessnock City Council's $1 million Disaster Recovery Funding allocation to be spent on recovery and renewal projects

BIG-TICKET ITEM: Yango Creek bridge will undergo a $500,000 upgrade thanks to the Disaster Recovery Funding payment.
BIG-TICKET ITEM: Yango Creek bridge will undergo a $500,000 upgrade thanks to the Disaster Recovery Funding payment.

Bridge, road and signage repairs and tourism marketing are among the projects that will be funded by Cessnock City Council's share of the Federal Government's Disaster Recovery Funding package.

Cessnock was one of 42 councils to receive a $1 million payment from the Federal Government in January, designed to help Australia's most severely bushfire-impacted councils to quickly rebuild vital infrastructure and strengthen community resilience.

The funding is to be spent on projects and activities that councils deem essential for the recovery and renewal of the local community.

The bulk of Cessnock's payment will be spent on bridge and road repairs, including $500,000 for Yango Creek Bridge; $300,000 for the regrading and rehabilitation of unsealed roads in the Wollombi, Laguna, Bucketty, Paynes Crossing and Congewai areas; $40,000 for embankment and stabilisation works in various locations, and $20,000 for road pavements repairs at Paynes Crossing.

Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent said Yengo Creek Bridge was a "big-ticket item", and the upgrade will allow the bridge provide greater capacity for fire trucks and other large vehicles.

"It's fantastic to be able to ensure better access for our emergency services, building resilience for any future fire events," he said.

Cr Pynsent said he was pleased that the program of works addresses not only infrastructure damage, but also the impacts the bushfires have had on local business operators - with $100,000 earmarked for destination marketing, and $10,000 for the replacement of damaged tourist signage in the Wollombi area.

"In determining how to best use the funding it was extremely clear we needed to support our local business community," he said.

"Tourism-related businesses were hit hard during the bush fire emergency and even in the weeks following."

WE'RE OK: The Wollombi Valley is lush, green and open for business. Picture: Visit Wollombi (Facebook)

WE'RE OK: The Wollombi Valley is lush, green and open for business. Picture: Visit Wollombi (Facebook)

Wollombi Valley Chamber of Commerce secretary Amber Sheedy said the chamber was excited about the funding announcement.

"We're ecstatic to know that we've got funding to promote the destination; it will be a huge boost for the area," she said.

"We want people to know that we're OK, and we're open for business."

Ms Sheedy also welcomed the infrastructure upgrades, saying would it would improve quality of lifestyle for residents and tourists.

"It's great that it's going to all areas of the community," she said.

The remaining $30,000 will be allocated for a temporary disaster recovery infrastructure officer, who will set up specialised 'Recover' software and systems to support the recording of infrastructure impacts from disaster events. This will also support the disaster claims process.

Council is currently meeting with stakeholders to determine a way forward for the $100,000 allocated to destination marketing. This included a meeting with the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Alliance and Destination NSW on Tuesday to discuss potential projects that will benefit the region.

Council will also engage with Wollombi and Laguna communities in relation to a $250,000 grant provided by the NSW Government's Economic Recovery and Community Resilience Fund.

Comments