Bega Valley Shire hosted a bushfire recovery meeting at Candelo last night and was up-front with community concerns and gave advice and information about insurance; clean-up and rebuilding. There is another meeting at Towamba this evening, and a recovery catch-up scheduled for Mogo tomorrow, and Nelligen on Saturday.
A bushfire recovery meeting at Candelo last night in the Bega Valley, has validated the frustrations of the hundreds of people in the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley shires trying to deal with insurance companies and get their properties cleaned up after the bushfire disaster.
In a transparent and open meeting given over to mainly answering questions Council's director of community, environment and planning Dr Alice Howe said Council was hearing residents were getting different results from their insurers. "We are also hearing that insurers are taking very different approaches to their relationship with you about paying out your policy. We do have a legal aid support available in Bega through the Recovery Centre there, and I would encourage you to get some advice before you agreed on the first offer your insurer might put to you."
Meanwhile Council's director of assets and operations Anthony McMahon said the NSW Government clean-up hadn't begun in the Bega Valley Shire yet, but if people stepped in to clean-up their own properties they may not be reimbursed.
"Head contractor Laing O'Rourke is now moving into our area and doing all their planning on how they're going to do the clean up. Once you register they are meant to make contact with you at some point to then organise to come and assess your property, and figure out how the clean up is actually going to happen.
"The issue that people are facing, that we are well and truly aware of, is that the time-lag between when that happens and when some people are ready to get going is not a time lag they [residents] are willing to wait for, the issue with that though is there is no real guarantee that if you move ahead and make your own arrangements, like organising a skip, that anyone is going to refund you for that cost", Mr McMahon said. (The clean-up officially began in the Eurobodalla last week at a property at Mogo).
Residents also heard Council was hoping to finalise sites for the disposal of the waste with the state government soon.
There will be another bushfire recovery meeting in the Bega Valley Shire tonight at Towamba, starting at 5.30pm and Eurobodalla Council is holding a recovery catch up between 4pm and 6pm at the fire shed on Tomakin Road, at Mogo tomorrow, Wednesday, and on Saturday at Nelligen from midday to 3pm, at the Nelligen Hall.