• Tony Bosworth

FUNDING UPDATE - $1.68m three months on – still no projects listed, and little flood survey action



$1.68m of bushfire recovery funds specifically for Bilpin, Upper Colo and Macdonald Valley made headlines three months ago with much fanfare from Mayor Patrick Conolly and Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston – but projects have still yet to be chosen.


We’re keeping tabs on funding announcements and the outcomes because there is a lot of money sloshing around from bushfire recovery funds, as well as funds to help with fallout from Covid-19’s impact on the local economy.


Hawkesbury Council also received $147,000 of State money back almost two years ago now to carry out a flood study and flood risk management study, and plan investigation of the Macdonald River, the Colo River, Webbs Creek and Greens Creek.


That project is still not up and running - at least not as far as residents of the Macdonald Valley are concerned - though Council’s Linda Perrine, the Director City Planning says, “the project is scheduled to commence with a community engagement program prior to the end of March”.


To be fair, that is almost exactly what we were told in December last year when we followed this up.


Back then, Council’s Manager Strategic Planning, Andrew Kearns, said, “appointment of consultants to these projects is expected to occur shortly, and in addition to a range of technical related studies will include engagement with a range of stakeholders including the community in order to ensure that the Final Study and Plan fully articulates the flood risk and proposed measures to manage that defined risk”.


On the separate $1.68m of funding under the Local Economic Recovery Funding, Council’s Director Infrastructure Services, Jeff Organ, said, “Council is currently finalising the detailed costing and project construction program to meet the requirements of the funding agreement with the NSW Government.


“We will be in a position to outline the delivery of the various project elements across the three locations once this has been confirmed with the funding body. Further detail will be given to the community once this has occurred.”


Here at the Post, we think it’s important the community is kept up-to-date on any developments, so we’ll continue to enquire about funding progress and outcomes and report back.



Full statements from Council staff below:



Comment by Jeff Organ, Director Infrastructure Services

“The NSW Government’s announcement of $1.68 million in Local Economic Recovery Funding for the Hawkesbury aims to further support community projects for Bilpin, Colo Heights and the Macdonald Valley (including St Albans) as part of their ongoing bushfire recovery.


“Council is currently finalising the detailed costing and project construction program to meet the requirements of the funding agreement with the NSW Government. We will be in a position to outline the delivery of the various project elements across the three locations once this has been confirmed with the funding body. Further detail will be given to the community once this has occurred.”



Comment by Linda Perrine, Director City Planning

“Council was successful in obtaining grant funding from the NSW Government’s State Floodplain Management Program, managed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, to undertake a flood study and flood risk management study and plan investigation of the Macdonald River, the Colo River, Webbs Creek and Greens Creek.


“The primary objective of the NSW Government’s Flood Prone Land Policy is to reduce the impacts of flooding and flood liability on communities and private and public losses using ecologically positive methods wherever possible. Council’s project is focussed on achieving these outcomes.


“The NSW Government, through Infrastructure NSW and the State Emergency Service, has been undertaking significant work in the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley with respect to flood risk planning and implementation of The Resilient Valley, Resilient Communities - Hawkesbury-Nepean Flood Risk Management Strategy:

https://www.hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/93051/Infrastructure-NSW-Resilient-Valley,-Resilient-Communities-2017-January.pdf


“It has been necessary for all relevant state agencies to sign off on the project. Council has now received all consultant responses and Council is finalising the appointment process of the project consultants. An essential component of the project is engagement with the community, both in terms of understanding the nature and extent of flood risk, and how to manage that flood risk in order to reduce the impact of flooding and flood liability on individual owners and occupiers of flood prone property, and to reduce private and public losses resulting from floods.


“The project is scheduled to commence with a community engagement program prior to the end of March 2021.”



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