It is time to provide you all with an update where the community is at following the 18 March fires that impacted Tathra.
 
Most of the Rotary Clubs contributed to the Mayoral Appeal and this fund has now accumulated over $1.5m.
The seven persons Committee set up to distribute these funds to individuals included 4 community members, one of which is Bega Rotary Past President Richard Galton.
  • Stage 1 - Initial distributions of a “flat rate” of $300,000 have been made to people where their house was destroyed either as primary residence owned or renting.
  • Stage 2 – Payments totalling approximately $609,000 has been made to 105 people with damage to their property.  
  • Stage 3 - The criteria for the third distribution is currently being confirmed.
 
As previously advised, funds that were donated to Bega Rotary are being held and will be used as we identify specific cases that other funds do not cover. As previously indicated we have a long-term focus in this regard. The local Lions Clubs are taking a similar approach.
 
A summary of the current status
 
  • All blocks have now been cleared of fire debris.
  • Council has moved the “one stop” office to Tathra. This is to assist people work through the planning and development process for any rebuild. There is also dedicated people to address the emotional and social needs.
  • Replacement of retaining walls and repairs to damaged property is well advanced.
  • The first houses to be rebuilt are in progress – one already has frame & roof complete and the other the frame is being erected. Several others have materials on site and are ready to start.
  • I am aware 4 to 5 properties have been sold after the fires. The prices paid have been higher than if sold before the fire.
  • As expected, the social welfare issues have emerged with some families or individuals struggling with the situation on “rollercoaster” periods as predicted.
  • Two Rotary ladies have organised two “Ladies lunches” for the locals to get together as part of moving forward. Over 50 ladies attended each lunch.
  • Rotary has sponsored the publishing of a book by students at Tathra Primary School telling of their experience of being affected by the fires. These funds were from proceeds of our Winter Book Fair.
  • Rotary members have assisted in landscaping for an elderly couple that had fire damage. This will move into plantings in burnt gardens as we get into spring. Tathra Lions have been very active in this area.
 
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