Thursday, May 30, 2024

Blue Mountains council comes to rescue of cut-off Megalong residents

Blue Mountains City Council is continuing to coordinate the delivery of essential food, fuel and animal supplies to the Megalong Valley community, after a landslide closed the only access road into the area.

Council is planning to have the first pedestrian access available at the landslide site from tomorrow.

It says the access will be initially restricted to residents and employees of the valley, as well as essential services, each morning and afternoon.

Council CEO, Dr Rosemary Dillon said restricted pedestrian access would ensure safety, and that road remediation works could continue as quickly as possible.

“A ground engineering construction crew will operate as a 10 hour shift at the landslide site, in order to allow temporary road stabilisation works to progress,” said Ms Dillon.

“We want to get one-lane vehicle access operating again on Megalong Road, as soon as possible.

“This is essential for residents of the Megalong Valley, but also the businesses in the valley.”

Council contractors, following Public Works advice, have begun to use shotcrete to stabilise the site and enable the use of large soil nails to build a temporary one-lane access road.

The option of cutting into a rock wall at the site, explored by multiple geo-technical experts including those from NSW Public Works, was deemed not possible due to instability and safety concerns, the Council said.

The second option of bringing in a Bailey Bridge – to bridge the landslip – was also not a preferred option due to the time it would take to install.

“Council continues to follow the advice of geotechnical experts, as we have since the first natural disaster occurred at Megalong Road,” said Ms Dillon.

“Safety, for our residents and workers, will always be our absolute priority.”

The Council has so far provided 1,200 litres of fuel along with deliveries of food and essential supplies to the affected residents. Further drops occurred today with fresh food, pet food, fodder for livestock, nappies and other essential supplies being taken into Megalong Valley.

Community liaison officers from Council, along with mental health workers, are also visiting the valley each day to help support the community.

Council says that once pedestrian access is available, via a constructed path running alongside the landslip site, shuttle buses will be available to ferry Megalong Valley community members to Blackheath and Katoomba, and back again, morning and afternoons.

Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said the profound impact on Megalong Valley residents and business owners could not be overstated and recovery efforts would require every level of Government working together to support the community.

“This situation is urgent, and I praise the resilience of the Megalong community, as well as the efforts of emergency services and others who are assisting to support this tight-knit community,” he said.

“The Megalong Valley is a special place which is a key tourism destination in Blue Mountains City. Getting access back into the Valley is our priority, for the sake of the local economy, along with supporting our community.”

The Council is continuing to advocate to State and Federal governments for additional natural disaster funding support for the community.

This includes advocating for natural disaster funding to extend to the Lithgow local government area, given about one-third of Megalong Valley residents reside in Lithgow, the Council said in a statement.
 

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