• Tony Bosworth

Mayor’s in the picture, Greens Rd and Upper Colo, fire recovery, heritage funds, Pitt Town wins big

Here’s our round-up of the latest from Hawkesbury Council this last week. We’ve cut the fluff and the council-speak, making it quicker and easier to digest.

It took a while, but we managed to find a couple of media releases from council this week that didn’t include a picture of Mayor Patrick Conolly – you’d have thought an election was coming up.

Greens Road, Lower Portland - not a great sight

Email updates for Greens Road and Upper Colo

Now, the one media release we got this week at the same time as council posted it on social media (they normally like to keep us waiting…) was an important one – those residents at Greens Rd, Lower Portland, and at Upper Colo, who have issues with badly flood damaged roads – and no timeline for repair, are asked to go on the council website and enter their email details so they can receive weekly updates.

No, we don’t know what those updates will contain, but many of the residents in the two affected areas have told the Post they would rather like some face-to-face interaction with council – and actually, they’d like some action, not just emails, but it's a start.

To sign up, go to Council’s website hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au and click on the yellow ‘All Flood Related Information’ banner then click on the green webtile ‘Register for Upper Colo Bridge and Greens Road updates’ and fill in your details.

Here's what it looks like...

$1.68M for bushfire recovery projects – the list

Just try and look casual leaning on that sign - Mayor Patrick Conolly and Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston, but where's Macquarie MP Susan Templeman who fought hard for the Commonwealth portion of the funds? Seems the two Liberals did not invite their Labor colleague

This significant State and Commonwealth funding was announced last year and we twice asked council for a run down on the projects so we could write stories for the communities – incidentally it’s Bilpin, Colo Heights and the Macdonald Valley - but they declined.

The council held an online survey in May last year asking the three communities to list priority projects they felt would benefit each of their communities.

Strangely, Macquarie MP Susan Templeman is not in the picture above and was not asked by council, the Mayor or State MP Robyn Preston to come along, which is poor to say the least because Ms Templeman was instrumental in getting this funding over the line.

"This is funding I fought hard for – these small communities suffered so much, and it was very appropriate that they were given some of the fast tracked funding to improve local facilities in their areas," Ms Templeman told us.

We don’t see any timeline for these projects, but here’s the list -


Bilpin Hall Precinct

· Community artwork

· Water storage – 120,000L water storage tank and pump for community use during bushfires.

· Extra storage area with awning on western side for community use and RFS briefings

Bilpin Hall Fire Resistance

· Leaf guard for gutters

· Sprinkler system

· Heavy duty screens on windows and doors

· Upgrade doors

· Community message board

· 10kw solar energy system with battery storage

· Small generator set with essential services circuit throughout the building

Bilpin Oval

· Playground for all ages

· Carpark upgrade

· Landscaping, retaining walls, pathways

· Oval upgrade

· Picnic shelters

· Water storage - 120 000 litre water storage tank and pump for community use during bushfires

· Toilet replacement

St Albans - Macdonald Valley

Town centre

· A yarning circle

· Picnic shelters with picnic tables

· Playground equipment

· Pathways

· Community artwork

St Albans School of Arts

· Removal of redundant toilet structure

· Sprinkler system

· Heavy duty screens on windows and doors as required

· Upgrade doors as required

· Community message board

· Small genset with essential services circuit throughout the building

· Air conditioning

· Replace stairs to building

· Landslide repairs

· New retaining wall

RFS Shed Fire Resistance

· Leaf guard for gutters

· Sprinkler system

· Heavy duty screens on windows and doors

· Upgrade doors

· Community message board

· Radio tower

· Extension to shed to house additional trucks

· 10kw solar energy system with battery storage

· Small generator set with essential services circuit throughout the building.

· 120,000 litre water storage tank with pump for community use during bushfires

Colo Heights

Colo Heights Hall Precinct

· Multi-purpose full court

· Picnic tables and shelters

· Landscaping, pathways, bollard fences, bin surrounds

· Oval improvements

· Community artwork

· Tennis shelter replacement

Colo Heights Hall Fire Resistance

· Roof cleaning and painting

· Air conditioning

· Commercial grade kitchen

· Accessible toilet upgrade

· Water storage – 120,000 litre water storage tank and pump for community use during bushfires

· Sprinkler system

· Heavy duty screens on windows and doors as required

· Upgrade doors as required

· Community message board

· 10 kilowatt solar energy system with battery storage

· Small generator set with essential services circuit throughout the building

· Bushfire damaged signage replacement.

Heritage properties share in $40,000 local heritage grants

Mayor Conolly with Chris Jones, St Matthews Anglican Church's Rector

Several heritage properties in Pitt Town, Wilberforce, St Albans, Upper Macdonald, Ebenezer, McGraths Hill, Richmond and Windsor are sharing in $40,000 in local heritage grants from the council’s Local Heritage Assistance Program.

Some examples here:

A heritage slab barn at Pitt Town’s Pitt Town Bottoms Rd, had its Gable ends repaired before the floods – the building survived - and structural repairs including new vertical posts and strengthening of the original framework will now be carried out.

At Wollombi Road, St Albans, First Farm Cottage will have its stone walls repointed.

In Moses Street, Windsor, five memorials will be repaired in the St Matthews Anglican Church graveyard.

Other heritage domestic properties will have repairs to fences, a chimney and stone walls.

The Hawkesbury Local Heritage Assistance Program is funded mostly by the council, with some funding help from NSW Heritage.

Heritage property owners have to match or exceed the funding. The funding available for any one property is set at $2000, or less, depending on what needs to be done to the property.

Council’s free Heritage Advisory Service gives owners of heritage listed properties advice from a highly experienced heritage architect, which is really valuable.

Applications for the next round of funding for the Local Heritage Assistance Program will open in late July.

Pitt Town to get new park and road upgrades

The Mayor with some council staff and contractors. No, the media folks didn't give us the names of the other blokes

This one was unveiled with much fanfare this week and includes Fernadell Park, which we can’t see any timeframe for.

A new regional park, road upgrades and improvements to playgrounds and footpaths are on the list. While the road upgrades are quite extensive, the news about Fernadell Park was much spruiked on council’s social media pages.

“I’m particularly excited about Fernadell Park,” said Mayor Patrick Conolly, “and I look forward to seeing this space transformed into a beautiful park that everyone can enjoy, whether it’s a leisurely walk or picnic, kicking a ball around with your children or participating in organised sport.

Isn't that the.....yes, it's the Mayor again, this time at the Fernadell Park area

“I encourage everyone to jump onto www.yourhawkesbury-yoursay.com.au to have your say on this and the other projects we have planned for Pitt Town.”

The council plans to build a nine-hectare park as the recreation and sporting hub for Pitt Town.

The Mayor says Fernadell Park would be developed in four stages “over the next few years” and could include football and cricket fields, netball and multi-sport courts, playground, youth space, dog off leash area, amenities building, picnic shelters with barbecues, lakeside decking, walking paths and car parking.

The Draft Masterplan for Fernadell Park is now on exhibition. Residents can view it and have their say on www.yourhawkesbury-yoursay.com.au until Thursday, July 8.

That will then lead to a development plan, and eventual timeline.

The road improvements we do have some timing for – they will take around five months to complete and will begin this June.

They include improvements to Bathurst St, Hall St, Hawkesbury St, Johnston St, Wells St and Punt Rd.

The council has set aside $150,000 this financial year for improvements to local parks and paths in Pitt Town, with $40,000 of that towards building public restrooms at Bona Vista Park, the rest to come from the State government.

Pitt Town residents were asked in late 2020 for a list of priority projects for the remaining $110,000. The community are being asked to vote on their preferred projects on www.yourhawkesbury-yoursay.com.au by Friday, June 11.

Free Green Rebuild Toolkit webinars in June

The Mayor's not in this one...not sure how that happened

A Green Rebuild Toolkit is being launched by not-for-profit organisation Renew to help fire-affected communities plan and rebuild their homes to suit our changing climate.

The toolkit includes step-by-step advice on where to start when planning a resilient rebuild, expert articles and online resources, advice videos, and case studies of resilient homes and rebuilds.

From Bushfire Attack Level ratings to fire resistant building materials, the Green Rebuild Toolkit offers important information for those navigating the daunting task of rebuilding.

Free webinars will be held from tomorrow – Tuesday and will feature experts in the field speaking alongside homeowners who have already rebuilt after fire. The webinars series will be held to coincide with the launch of the Green Build Toolkit. The topics and dates for the webinars are:

  • Designing and building for bushfire and climate resilience - Wednesday, June 2 June - 6pm to 7.30pm register at https://bit.ly/34fO3h6

  • Materials and construction for bushfire and climate resilience - Thursday, June 3 - 6pm to 7.30pm register at https://bit.ly/34ekU66

  • Home energy setups for bushfire zones and climate resilience - Tuesday, June 8 - 6pm to 7.30pm register at https://bit.ly/3bQujFe

  • Water storage and fire-resistant landscaping - Wednesday, June 9 - 6pm to 7.30pm register at https://bit.ly/3yLDAIy

This webinars will be held on Zoom. You will receive the link to attend after registering for the event. If you are new to Zoom, download the app before the webinar at https://zoom.us/download

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