Tathra - 2EC

A third of Tathra properties now cleaned-up

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Asbestos has been a major issue in the clean-up of the NSW Far South Coast town of Tathra, which had nearly 70 homes destroyed in a bushfire last month. 

The Tathra clean-up is going well with about a third of destroyed properties now cleaned-up, Bega Valley Shire Council’s Waste Manager Toby Browne has said.

Asbestos began being removed from the bushfire-ravaged town at the beginning of last week and is being trucked to the Eden tip about 50 kilometres south of Tathra.

Mr Browne says while the asbestos has had to be put into landfill, a lot of the material being delivered is being recovered.

"Around thirty homes were asbestos contaminated and they had to be landfilled, there's no question of that, and that's being done with the utmost care and safety, however the other 38-odd destroyed homes impacted were not asbestos and Council's is doing everything it can to recover brick, concrete and scrap steel in particular from that demolition waste stream, to reduce the amount of waste that's then going into the landfill.

“The brick and concrete can obviously be crushed into road-based or other types of gravels, the scrap metal has a market value so that will be on-sold as part of a tendering process,” Mr Browne said.  

Air scouring of the water systems in the Bega Valley

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Bega Valley Shire Council remains resolute in its commitment to improve drinking water quality and systems across the Shire.

Air scouring works will commence in Tathra on Thursday December 7th and conclude Friday December 15th, followed by the system supplying residents and businesses in North Bega, Tarraganda, and Kalaru in February 2018.

These dates are different to those advised earlier and allow the community to better manage the short water outages expected.

Council’s Water & Sewer Manager, Jim Collins, said that the program of air scouring involves high pressure air and water being flushed through water mains.

“Air scouring is an aggressive method of water main cleaning and far more effective than normal flushing operations using water alone,” Mr Collins said.

“It provides the water main with a thorough clean; meaning a greater quantity of accumulated sediment can be removed from the system, with an improvement in water quality and often pressure the outcome.”

Residents and business owners will receive information outlining the timing of the work in their specific area and of the need to not use water for a short period of time.

“We continue to work closely with the community to achieve the best possible results, while ensuring the minimal amount of disruption to homes and businesses,” Mr Collins said.

“Residents in Tathra should notice an improvement leading up to Christmas and then we’ll get to work in North Bega, Tarraganda, and Kalaru in the New Year.”

Aside from the pamphlets being delivered to letterboxes ahead of the this work, customers with questions can consult Council’s website or contact Council on 6499 2222.

Image credit: Bega Valley Shire Council

© Bega Valley Shire Council 2017

 

Community donations needed for Tathra lifeguards

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For the last 3 summers, businesses in Tathra and Bega have worked together to fund a beach safety program that has kept the famous red and yellow flags flying on Tathra Beach during February.

Our golden strip of sand has been the only beach south of Ulladulla with a 7-day-a-week lifeguard service during the final month of summer.

To build on the reputation Tathra has with grey nomads and young families at this magic time of year, the Tathra and District Business Chamber is once again seeking financial support from local businesses and organisations to keep the flags flying in 2018.

“February is a big month in Tathra, many young families and retirees are attracted to our beautiful beach after the busy school holiday period,” Chamber Vice President, Rob White says.

“The feedback from holiday makers is always terrific, it’s clear that people come to Tathra during February because they know our beach is patrolled, this extends our summer and gives Tathra a point of difference,” Mr White says.

Locals know that February is the best time of year on our beaches, daily temperatures are similar to January, but the water is warmer and the winds lighter.
Lifeguards employed by Bega Valley Shire Council keep watch over beach goers Monday to Friday during the summer school holidays, complimenting the outstanding volunteer effort each weekend from Tathra Surf Life Saving Club.

“But once school goes back after Australia Day the Council service stops, leaving visitors to our town and members of our community at risk,” Mr White says.

“Council considered working with us to extend their service into February to take the pressure off the community fundraising effort, but we have been told they don’t have the budget.”

The Chamber is now hoping to raise the $13,000 needed to keep professional life guards on Tathra Beach, Monday to Friday from January 29 until February 23.
Secretary of the Chamber, Carmen Risby says the results speak for themselves.

“The extended beach patrols on Tathra Beach during February last year meant that lifeguards were on hand to perform 14 rescues,” Ms Risby says.

“Our stats show that lifeguards kept watch over approximately 6200 people on Tathra Beach during weekdays last February.”

Businesses who take part will receive significant media exposure, and generate tremendous goodwill within the local community.

Thank you to the businesses who have already made a commitment - Tathra Big4, Tathra Beachside, Tathra & District Business Chamber, Tathra Beach House, Tathra Beach Bowling Club, Bendigo Bank, and Tathra Hotel. More are needed to keep the flags flying.

Please contact Rob White at Tathra Beach House Apartments for further information on becoming a business or organisation sponsor - [email protected] or phone 6499 9900.

Image credit: Ian Campbell 

Green Shoots helping Tathra recover

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The Koori Work Crew are doing a great job at Tathra. Photo courtesy Bega Valley Shire Council. 

A thriving partnership between Bega Valley Shire Council and South East Local Land Services is supercharging the Green Shoots bushfire recovery program in the Tathra area.

 The implementation of a remediation program is now well advanced, with the assistance of Local Land Services and the mobilisation of the local Koori work crew proving extremely valuable. Bega Valley Shire Council’s Acting Environmental Services Coordinator, Michael Fiedler, said the initial actions, that have included the installation of sediment traps and flow control devices, are focussed on preventing adverse and potentially significant impacts on the environment and community in the event of a moderate or significant rainfall event.

“The work completed so far has involved relatively cheap yet proven measures such as the placement of straw bales and logs in gullies, and the installation of sediment fences in vulnerable areas - fallen logs and dead trees have also been placed across slopes in heavily impacted areas,” Mr Fiedler said.

The mitigation measures will lessen the risk of gully and sheet erosion as well as landslip and will slow the movement of soil, sediment and ash from fire impacted lands into waterways or public and community assets. “So far over 600 straw bales have been deployed and 270 hectares of severely affected land treated, but there is so much more work to do.

“The urgency, necessity and value of the work being undertaken is highlighted by the fact that 120,000 cubic metres of soil was estimated as potentially being lost from the catchments immediately behind Tathra if nothing was done.

“It is also recognised that fire can have significant impacts on water and habitat quality by increasing nutrient loads from ash and sediment, resulting in potential fish kills as well as smothering and disrupting ecosystem processes, especially in the Bega River and its wetlands.

“There is also a risk soil and sediment loss could severely affect Tathra’s stormwater infrastructure and roads as well as increase the flood risk.

“With Tathra’s economy heavily reliant on tourism, the quality of the surrounding environments, including bushland reserves, the Bega River Estuary (a declared Recreational Fishing Haven), Tathra Beach and the scenic clifftop reserves areas have a vital role to play in attracting visitors to town.

“The works being undertaken will help ensure these important assets are protected and will assist their recovery in the future,” Mr Fiedler said. Further events and opportunities for the public to be involved in the Green Shoots program will evolve as the damage to natural areas are fully assessed and they are opened up to the public.

Help for Tathra pets still coming from far and wide

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A new supply of pet supplies for Tathra pooches, moggies, rabbits and guinea pigs is here.
 
It's not only people that have been looked after since the devestating Tathra bushfire on Sunday the 18th of March. The fire destroyed 65 homes and damaged many more, affecting 100 Tathra families, and while many wild creatures lost their bush-homes and lives, a lot of domestic animals were able to be saved. 
 
During the week after the fire at the Evacuation Centre in Bega, some of the most poignant moments were when residents heard news their pets had been found and were safe. At the forefront of the pet rescue was the Local Lands Service and district vet Helen Schaefer. 
 
Helen says the support for pets and owners keeps rolling in and this week there's been a new supply coming from as far as the Macedon Ranges in Victoria, from the Macedon Ranges Obedience Dog Club.  
 
Helen wants to let all the Tathra residents who have been making use of the pet supplies, that it's ok to keep calling on her and the Local Lands Service. She says there's plenty to go around. New donations have also come from Animal Rescue Resources and PetStock Ulladulla. 
 
"We have plenty of dog and cat food, chook food, collars, leads, bedding, bowls, shampoo - even for bunnies!, an abundance of treats - even for guinea pigs!, toys and more.
 
"We'd like to encourage the many that have been, to please keep coming back, and for those who have been reluctant - there is plenty to go around," Helen said. 
 
The Local Lands Service is open 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday on the rooftop car-park level, Sapphire Marketplace, Bega, (and there's a big flag outside). 

Tathra Bushfire Mayoral Appeal funds reach impacted residents

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65 homes were destroyed and many badly damaged during the fire on the 18th of March. 
 
People who were directly impacted by the Tathra bushfire have begun to receive money from the Tathra Bushfire Mayoral Appeal. 
 
Mayor of the Bega Valley Shire, Kristy McBain, says nearly all owner occupiers whose homes were destroyed, or made uninhabitale, and tenants whose rental properties were destroyedv have now received funds. She says with only five more applications to process in this round, stage 1 is nearly complete. 
 
She says over a quarter of a million dollars has gone out in this stage, with over a million dollars, still in the fund for stage 2, and more to come through the recent Band Together Relief Concert. 
 
Mayor McBain says the aim of the fund was always to provide support as quickly as possible. "All committee members were really keen to make sure the money went out to the community as soon as possible, because we know the most urgent needs are going to be right now. So it's been really good that everybody's been on the same page which is why we've done stage one quite quickly and we're moving into stage 2 as quick as we can." 

Tathra fire inquiry interim report to be released on 7th May

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A devestating bush-fire ripped through Tathra on the NSW South Coast on Sunday, March 18. Photo courtesy 2GB

The independent inquiry into the Tathra Fire is due to be handed down on the 7th of May. 

The inquiry, headed by former Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, is looking at the response into the Tathra fire as well as call-taking, and dispatch arrangements, of both the Rural Fire Service and NSW Fire and Rescue across the state.

The State's emergency services minister Troy Grant announced the inquiry in the week after the fire ripped through the town of Tathra on Sunday 18th of March.

65 homes were destroyed in the fire and many damaged.100 families have been directly impacted.  

NSW Rural Fire Service Association president Ken Middleton is hoping the findings will put to rest concerns the RFS and NSW Fire and Rescue have undermined effective fire responses with friction between the agencies.

He says there's been a good response to the inquiry from within the Rural Fire Service.

“We prepared a submission, we requested our members to respond to us with their views on the questions asked within the Inquiry and we had a very good response - over one-hundred-and-sixty respondents, either individuals, brigades or districts came back to us, and we had the opportunity to present those views formally,” he said.

Mr Middleton said he hopes the findings will put to rest concerns the RFS and NSW Fire and Rescue have undermined effective fire responses with friction between the agencies.

“I believe the response that we elicited will show that our members work very closely with Fire and Rescue on the ground. The two commissioners have released a joint statement saying exactly that and I believe Commissioner Keelty is in a position to give an unbiased opinion, based on the evidence he's gathered.”

Tathra Fishing Club's gift to struggling Victorian

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Not being able to travel to Tathra for his family's annual trip to Tathra had Victorian Geoff Parkes feeling extremely sad but a gift from Tathra has lifted his spirits. 

Parkes is a member of the Tathra Amateur Fishing Club and stays in contact with Club Secretary Kerry McKee via email. 

McKee said she knew Geoff had been feeling down and she wanted to do something to help. 

"Geoff emailed me to say how much he was missing Tathra and how he wished  he could be up here," McKee said. 

"So I just sent him some sand and shells off Tathra Beach," she said.  

Parkes was so emotional upon receiving the bag he "cried like a baby"

"Kerry is a magnificent lady, she's not just the Angling Club Secretary but she's also our guardian angel when we go out in the boats... she is one special lady"

 "Thanks so much, I'm blown away," he said. 

Tathra Pig Race

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The annual Tathra Pig Race was on again for locals and tourists to enjoy.

There was food stalls, entertainment and plenty of pig races to see.

Kevin Kiley from Noah's Thoroughbred has been supplying the pigs in the race for a few years.

He said "it's great to see so many people enjoying the event all money raised at the event will go towards the local Lions club".

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Image credit: Daniel Doody

Video by: Daniel Doody 

Video report: Raging fire at Tathra

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A fire ripped through this laundromat in Tathra, before spreading to a hair salon and bottle shop.

All 3 businesses are destroyed, it will take some time before authorities find out the cause of the fire.

Here's a video report on the fire which unfolded last night (23/02/2018) 

Video report by Daniel Doody

Image and video credit: David Porter 

VIDEO: Fire destroys 3 businesses in Tathra

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 Fire crews tackled an intense blaze at a laundromat in Tathra last night.

The ferocious fire spread to a hairdressers and bottleshop destroying 3 businesses, firefighters were aware that large gas cylinders were nearby and made an effort to secure them a remove them from the area..

Along with Tathra Brigade, units from Bega, Jellat and Bega Fire and Rescue managed to control the fire after sometime.

Rural Fire Service Superintendent of the Far South Coast John Cullen, has praised everyone for their actions and says authorities are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Meanwhile, East Coast Radio Account Manager David Porter, was first on scene and said he heard a number of explosions coming from inside the building, and described the scene as chaotic... furthermore Mr Porter says, the fire was so intense that fire crews did a tremendous job in containing the blaze. 

Power to the building was also cut and thankfully no one was reported to be inside the burning building at the time.

Investigations are continuing.

 

Image and video credit: David Porter