• Tony Bosworth

BRAG lobbying pays off with new $455,700 path and cycleway part of $1.5m bushfire recovery fund

It might sound lot a lot of money for a path, but a new combined concrete cycleway and walkway planned for Bilpin will make sure pedestrians and cyclists are safely separated from traffic on the busy Bells Line of Road as it passes through the area.

The project – which will see the new track travel between the town centre, school, and community hall - was the main one asked for by residents out of a consultation process Bilpin Region Advancement Group (BRAG) organised last year.

The $455,700 is part of a new $1.5m grant under Stage Two of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, co-funded by the federal and state governments.

The $1.5m is in addition to $1.6m previously announced for fire affected areas St Albans, Bilpin and Upper Colo which is going towards separate projects chosen by Hawkesbury Council in consultation with residents.

Penny McKinlay, BRAG's President, said, “the combined walkway cycleway will provide much needed safe access for the whole community in and around Bilpin - keeping locals off the side of the Bells Line of Rd.

“The path was the number one preference for community infrastructure from our community consult in July 2020.

“Other project ideas from the community included a pump track, cricket facilities and a dog park.

“BRAG will continue working with council and other relevant bodies to get the area vibrant, safe and family friendly,” she said.

The other projects to be funded through the new grant are:

  • $200,700 for the Hawkesbury Business Support and Resilience Program

  • $368,547 for Hawkesbury Community Continuity Project to plan for future disaster emergency responses

  • $498,240 to create community advice and support service hubs.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Disaster Recovery, John Barilaro, said more than 650 applications have been received from 47 local government areas impacted by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, requesting a total of $1.6 billion – more than six times the original funding available.

“I understand that preparing and submitting applications takes a lot of time and energy and with such an oversubscription of applications and high demand for funding, it means there will be many disappointed applicants.

“I am pleased that unsuccessful applicants will have the chance to consider submitting their project to the Australian Government’s $280 million Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants that is expected to open in early July 2021,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Applicants who did not receive funding will be offered an opportunity for feedback on their application and also advice about other funding options that they might wish to consider,” he said.

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