Hope for recovery

Tom and Nathan from Pure Window Cleaning Services were busy on Monday morning getting the town looking spick and span.
Tom and Nathan from Pure Window Cleaning Services were busy on Monday morning getting the town looking spick and span.

While fire crews continue to fight fires around the Bega Valley, businesses are hoping to avoid the economic firestorm.

For many small coastal businesses the summer season is the time when they make the money which will see them through the lean months but this year the fires have changed that.

Now after sending tourists away for their own safety, chambers of commerce, tourism bodies and council are now encouraging them return and are hopeful of getting some trade out of the two last remaining weeks of the school holidays and into the coming months.

Daniel Murphy, council's manager of economic development, said those who have a history and love for holidays on the Sapphire Coast can make a meaningful contribution to the region in the wake of the bushfires.

"Our very strong message to future visitors is to keep us in your thoughts over the coming weeks and months as you plan your holidays," he said.

Council's general manager Leanne Barnes is the deputy chair of the Regional Recovery Committee which pulls together nine affected councils. Ms Barnes said they are looking to streamline the process of recovery and looking to break down any barriers or red tape.

"This is the saddest of times but we have been overwhelmed by the generosity and support offered from other councils," Ms Barnes said.

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Council also has its own Bega Valley 2020 bushfires recovery committee which in the first instance is ensuring that those who have lost their homes have a roof over their heads and their needs are met, Ms Barnes explained.

The committee visited Wonboyn on Tuesday and is working with the ADF, looking at asbestos issues relating to homes that are fire affected and also the issue of deceased livestock.

"How we support local industries is a significant challenge for us," Ms Barnes added mentioning agriculture, forestry, tourism and aquaculture as industries that would need help.

"We will be advocating for them," Ms Barnes added.

The Merimbula Chamber of Commerce will host a public meeting to provide information and allow everyone to share ideas.

This will be either Friday at 5.30pm or Saturday afternoon - visit the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce Facebook page for details.

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