Mayor's Message - 14 January
The start of 2020 has been an absolutely terrible time for all of those affected by the unprecedented bushfires burning right across the state. I have been blown away recently by the overwhelming generosity of our local communities – the Wonthaggi CFA amassed over 150 pallet loads of goods over one weekend, which is an incredible effort.
Thanks to the huge number of donations already received, we are encouraging people to hold off on donating goods and food for the time being. Relief centres are overwhelmed by donations, diverting resources away from critical tasks. Instead, one of the best things we can do now is offer financial assistance, which can be directed to a number of different organisations, including the State Government’s appeal (www.vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal) or the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (www.gerf.org.au/donate).
I have been buoyed by the enthusiasm and willingness to support our neighbours and it has been fantastic to see that Bass Coast’s generous community spirit has shone through. I applaud our local volunteers and emergency service professionals who have lent a helping hand during this tough time – often leaving their own families and spending time away from home to help others.
Council staff have also stepped up and headed over to East Gippsland to help in this incredibly stressful and busy time. Members of our Communication and Engagement, Building and Emergency Management teams have headed over to assist and we will continue to work with our Gippsland neighbours on a coordinated response to the ongoing fire activity.
Of course, while fires are not affecting us directly, we have been experiencing some very smoky days, which can have some health implications. The best way to avoid the smoke is to stay indoors with the windows and doors closed. It’s also a great idea to limit physical activity. Please also to remember to check in on those members of our community, including kids, older people and pregnant women, who may be adversely affected by smoky conditions.