Without wanting to sound like a broken record, gosh haven't we had a challenging start to the year!
While we still all breathe a sigh of relief not to be breathing smoke - or fighting fires - the heavy rains of December and January still made for a busy holiday break for many in our community.
Top of mind is the landslip on Armidale Road at Devils Nook that closed the road and cut off around 300 residents in and around Bellbrook.
The slip started about 85 metres above the roadway and dumped tonnes of rock and debris across the entire road. It was by all reports the largest the community has seen in the area and it proposed two very big and very different challenges: How could we as a community support those stranded on the other side? And how did we clear the road?
For the Bellbrook community, council worked with the SES to arrange airlifts into Bellbrook to deliver essential supplies and services, with community members doing shopping for those stranded upriver. The chopper even flew in council's specialists to ensure clean water would be available for the duration. It was great to see Council, services and the community working together to support those in need.
At the same time, I was so proud to see how council worked so hard to get the road open again so quickly, days ahead of schedule. Council staff worked with specialist contractors and geotechnical engineers to plan a brilliant solution for clearing and stabilising the site. We were determined to out think the rocks while retaining a strong focus on safety to ensure our staff, contractors and the community were not put at risk at any time.
When you add this effort to the bridges closed twice due to flooding over the break, the roads that have been damaged by water, and the impact of the unseasonal weather on our tourist centres, public amenities and holiday parks... well the way that our entire community has responded makes me realise that we have in fact had a very strong start to 2021.
Thank you to you all, now we just need a holiday from our holiday!
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