Rates slashed for fire-affected Wollondilly residents

Wollondilly Council has decided to relieve some of the financial burden on residents who lost their homes during the recent bush fire.

The council voted unanimously to offer rate relief and waive development application fees for residents who lost their home or outbuildings at an extraordinary meeting last night.

Wollondilly mayor Matthew Deeth said this was just one way that the council was supporting residents through such a difficult time.

"We needed to do something to help take some of the financial burden off and this is just a small way to help them back on their feet," he said.

"I think it was incredibly important for us to endorse these ideas to help the community recover."

Residents whose homes were destroyed or deemed uninhabitable will have access to rate relief for two years.

Development applications fees will also be waived for any buildings destroyed by the fire.

"On top of the state government's promise of six months rate relief, this will take that burden off of residents for two and a half years," Cr Deeth said.

"Paired with the streamlined development application service, we hope this will give people some extra time to recover.

"We understand that it can take a long time to rebuild and repair."

The Green Wattle Creek fire destroyed 15 homes and damaged 16 homes at the beginning of this year.

It also destroyed many outbuildings and sheds.

Cr Deeth said the council's repair bill from the bush fire stood at $1.7 million.

"Some of those funds will come from section 44 contributions and disaster relief but there is still about $250,000 worth of damage that will need to be covered," he said.

"The roads into Yerranderie will also need to be repaired as they sustained serious damage during the fire."

The council has also allocated funds to community projects in fire affected towns.

"A lot of people want funds to go directly to the victims but we need to also support the entire community and boost morale locally," Cr Deeth said.

"We allocated $550,000 to projects in Bargo, Oakdale and Buxton.

"We want to build small scale BMX tracks in Bargo and Oakdale and upgrade the youth facilities at Telopea Park in Buxton."

The council also hope to build a memorial for Deputy Captain Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer, 36, who died when their truck rolled and a tree fell onto the cabin on Wilson Drive, Buxton.

The memorial will be constructed in Telopea Park Buxton.

"The Buxton RFS had an idea to build a children's fire truck that kids can play on," Cr Deeth said.

"I think it's a great idea - they had young kids themselves so I think it would be a nice way to honour their sacrifice."

The council will also host a concert called 'Band Together 2020' at Tabcorp Park, Menangle.

Cr Deeth said the concert would be a chance to celebrate the hard work of the region's emergency services personnel.

"Throughout those two months firefighters sacrificed a lot of time with their families so we wanted to throw an event where they could spend some quality time with their families," he said.

"We will have more details to come on this event."

For more information, visit: wollondilly.nsw.gov.au.