How every dollar of bushfire funding has been spent so far
It has been 12 months since funding was announced to help bushfire-ravaged villages in the Richmond Valley.
Fires devastated the region in 2019-2020, and the impacts are still being felt in areas including Rappville, New Italy and Casino.
The council's recovery manager, Kelly Moroney, said they had received $1,416,667 in bushfire recovery funding.
"It should be noted that some of the funds have not been fully expended due to project savings and COVID-19 impacts, with events being unable to be held," the council report stated.
These are the projects that Richmond Valley councillors voted to support, and this is how the works are progressing.
Rappville Hall, $1.596 million
Development approval was granted in November 2020. The BizRebuild team has provided an architect and structural engineer to provide detailed drawings package which is expected by the end of February. A construction certificate will be applied for in February, to be followed by the advertisement of tenders for the construction. So far only $26,302 has been spent, with the project expected to be completed by September 2021.
Rappville pedestrian pathway, $230,000
The contract was awarded via tender in October and construction commenced in late 2020. Section 2 (post office to the pub) to be completed by end of February. Section 3 (joining the pub section to railway crossing) is waiting on design approval and will be constructed by the end of June. So far $124,701 has been spent.
Rappville Sportsground, $220,000
With $194,412 spent so far, the canteen and amenities upgrade are complete, and a new sewerage management system installed. The yards are 90 per cent complete with further works to be completed by the end of February.
Rappville Master Plan, $50,000
This project was completed in April 2020 and only cost $24,325.
Northern Rivers Local Emergency Management Committee, $10,000
So far $271 has been spent on equipment.
Recovery staff, $110,000
A recover manager was funded until the end of June 2020 and a recovery officer until the end of October. Remaining funds will be used to cover the percentage difference for on-costs invoiced to the state government for the community recovery officer role.
New Italy Museum, $100,000
Vegetation works are complete and tank installed, with the kitchen works expected to be complete by the end of February. A total of $54,117 has been spent so far.
New Italy Bike Trails, $50,000
All the funding has been spent, with the trails now reopened to members of the Dirty Wheels Mountain Bike Club. State Forestry has still closed the access road to the general public.
Portable shower/toilets, $80,000
With $55,704 spent, ablution blocks have been ordered and are currently being constructed with delivery expected in March.
Music event, $60,000
Due to COVID-19 plans for the event were cancelled. Only $832 was spent on initial planning, with $59,168 not to be expended.
Bushfire affected coastal waterways, $160,000
This will help with the restoration of burnt riparian areas within the Richmond River tributaries. Expressions of Interest closed on January 17, with the contract to be awarded this month. No money has been spent yet.
Casino Showground upgrades, $420,000
So far $3226 has been spent clearing the site, undertaking surveys, consultation, quotes and scheduling service relocation. It is due to be finished by June 2021.
Community halls upgrades, $100,000
Successful applicants have been advised and money has been granted, with works to be completed by May 2021. All the money has been spent.
Water filling stations, $92,846
One of the two filling stations had been installed, and all documentation for the card access system has been completed, at a cost so far of $79,092. Hardware is currently being programmed and will be installed by the end of February. The second filling station will be installed by the end of February.
Paddock to Plate, $95,000
Regionality Pty Ltd has been appointed to project manage and co-ordinate the Richmond Valley Made Paddock to Plate initiative. The first facilitated industry workshop will be held on February 24. So far $47,500 has been spent.
Tourism facilities, road access improvement, $285,000
So far $209,160 has been spent on pavement works to 2km of Swan Bay-New Italy Road and 700m of Forest Road. Some final works are scheduled for February with culverts to be installed.
Bushfire Community Recovery & Resilience Fund, $250,000
Stream 1 involves allocation of funds for smaller scale, short-term community projects, including a council led community grants program. No money has been spent yet.
NSW Premiers Grant, $25,000
Quotes for improvements to Rappville tennis court are being obtained, with works expected to commence March and completed in April. No money spent so far.
NSW EPA Grant, $10,000
Funding agreement signed to complete a data assessment to assess and report on bushfire generated green waste. No money spent so far.