10 Mar 2022
By LUKE HARRIS
Funding to help Mount Barker residents recover from the 2019-20 bushfires has been received by Mount Barker District Council.
The council has been successful in its bid to receive $620,000 of the federal government’s $390 million Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program.
The grant will help provide support for the medium and long-term recovery needs of the community which was affected by the bushfires two years ago.
Senator for South Australia Andrew McLachlan said the money will assist in a wide range of community needs.
“The grants will fund a broad range of recovery and resilience projects,from social and community wellbeing right through to projects that support local jobs, small
businesses and infrastructure,” Andrew said.
Funds totalling $440,000 will enable council to continue removing fire-affected tree material within the Cudlee Creek fire scar, as well as replace road markers which were damaged during the fires.
$110,000 will go towards a series of workshops to provide business support and technology solutions to help local agricultural businesses build productivity, and a further $70,000 will be set aside for a mural on the walls of the Wallis Cinema, Mount Barker.
The mural will incorporate an augmented reality component, which will bring it to life. Mount Barker Mayor Ann Ferguson said this important work will provide both safety to road users as well as mental health benefits for the people of Harrogate and Brukunga by removing remnants of the devastating fires from the community.
“Agriculture is a critical part of the district’s economy, an area that has recently lost jobs,” Ann said.
“This funding will help us support this sector through education and access to new products, services and technology.
“The Wallis Cinema played a big part in supporting the district’s population during both the Cudlee Creek and Cherry Gardens fires.
“The cinema buildings were made available as refuge spaces for affected residents and their pets during these fires.
“With the cinema business now struggling due to the Covid pandemic, this art project will create a unique interactive experience for visitors to the area.”
As part of the recovery process, $135,000 has also been allocated towards landscaping at the Harrogate Soldiers Memorial Hall, creating a community gathering space in the Hills township.
Planning for the workshops is now underway, and the Wallis Cinema mural is expected to be completed later this year. Roadside clearance and maintenance in fire-affected areas is expected to be completed in 2023.