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Storm and Flood Recovery News

Dear resident 

As we approach one year on from the June 2021 storm, we acknowledge the incredible amount of challenges for impacted communities – particularly those in the Dandenong Ranges, where so many people lost their homes or were displaced for significant periods of time.

When we think about recovery and the recovery journey our impacted communities and residents are navigating, we understand that there are still some people who are on Day 0. 

What has been true from the start, and what will always be true, is that we’re here to help.

As we approach one year since the storm, Council has been working to ensure that residents affected by the storm have access to a range of webinars from State Disaster Psychologist Dr Rob Gordon who offers some words of wisdom around the one year mark and how to be kind to yourself and others.

After consultation with community groups, Yarra Ranges Council offered small grants to enable community-led gatherings to support community wellbeing. These events are for the community and run by the community and will be held between Friday 27 May and Friday 24 June. For more information on what events are being held, scroll down. 

Council staff will also be present at Karwarra from 11am to 3pm on 8 June and 9 June from 10am - 12 midday offering refreshments and a quiet space to reflect, and connect in a meaningful way. Council staff will also be present at Sassafras Hall on 9 June from 1 - 3pm and another space for quiet reflection will be made available at Mount Evelyn Community House  from 1 - 3pm on 9 June. 

One year on storm events

The extreme storm event on 9 and 10 June 2021 had a devastating effect on many Yarra Ranges residents and communities.

The impacts continue to be felt by people who experienced damage to their homes, gardens, communities, environment, and wellbeing.

After consultation with community groups, Yarra Ranges Council offered small grants to enable community-led gatherings to support community wellbeing between Friday 27 May and Friday 24 June.

While some people do not wish to dwell on the date of the 1st anniversary of the storm event, others have expressed the need to gather, reflect on shared experiences, and/or thank people who helped.

Council allocated a total funding pool of $5,430 for existing not-for-profit community groups and small community organisations located in storm impacted Yarra Ranges communities to host small free events/activities.

Find out what anniversary events are being held around you

Council’s Habitat Hollows Program Protects Precious Wildlife

Yarra Ranges Council aims to install several nest boxes and hollows across six locations in the municipality as a part of storm recovery works.

Fallen logs and stumps collected during the storm clean-up are being repurposed in bushland sites to create habitat for local fauna including the threatened Powerful Owl. It’s estimated that over 25,000 trees fell within the Yarra Ranges municipality during the 2021 June storm.

Some of those trees housed valuable tree hollows. Tree hollows are an increasingly scarce and a valuable resource, as they provide habitat and protection for many native species.

The Council has endeavoured to replace these important natural structures and Yarra Ranges Council Biodiversity Rehabilitation Coordinator Scott Allen said the program would target over 30 species that rely on hollows for breeding and nesting.

Read the full hollow logs story

Pandemic and June Storm Impact Survey

Yarra Ranges Council is conducting its third Storm and Pandemic survey to collect the views and experiences of community members and understand what impact the COVID-19 pandemic and the June 2021 storm event is continuing to have on the community.

The survey is being undertaken for a third time to help Council continue to deliver assistance where it is most needed. Information collected in the first two surveys helped inform the Council’s Municipal Recovery Plan which is the blueprint for all recovery activities delivered by Council over recent months as well as the months ahead.

The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete and is broken down into two parts; the first assessing the impact from the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the second assessing the impact from the June 2021 storm event.

All information collected through this survey is completely confidential. Only high-level aggregated results are published. This means that any individual responses will not be made public.

Take the survey

Urban Community Recovery Committee wants to hear from you

What do you think our community needs to recover, build resilience, and strengthen our connections following the pandemic and June 2021 storm/floods?

The Urban Community Recovery Committee is creating a Community-Led Recovery Plan which will inform the allocation of grants to community groups in the Upper Yarra area.

As part of their work, the Committee is conducting a survey to gather information to help create a Community-Led Recovery Plan. It will include details on what you think our community needs to recover, build resilience, and strengthen our connections following the pandemic and June 2021 storm/floods.

This survey is anonymous and should take no more than five minutes to complete. Please note that all your responses are confidential and that at no stage will your individual comments be used for any purpose other than reporting on community led initiatives and informing related community support projects. 

Take the survey

Healing in Our Gardens 

Over recent months many storm impacted residents and communities have been reaching out to us for support, ideas, and resources to help them restore and rebuild their private gardens damaged or destroyed in the June 2021 storm or from subsequent clean-up works.

Many residents are now also faced with changes to the landscape and environment that surrounds their gardens. Gardens that were once covered by shade are now more exposed to sun, heat or cold.

To help our impacted residents reimagine their gardens and local environment, we will soon be launching our Healing in our Gardens project.

The Healing in our Gardens project will have three main focuses.

  • My Garden Sanctuary   - where residents can come together and learn more about how to restore, reimagine and rebuild their own gardens
  • Lending a Hand – Where residents can connect with and support each other and their communities, by sharing their gardening knowledge, experience, or physical skills.
  • Beyond my Fence – Where residents can come together, learn more and be involved in supporting and caring for their local environment, biodiversity, sustainability, and place.

We’ll be sharing more details about this community recovery project, and the launch date of our Healing in our Gardens project with community, in next month’s Newsletter and across our social media platforms. 

If you want to find out more about the Healing in our Gardens now or register your interest to receive more information, please contact Deb Sargentson – Community Recovery at D.Sargentson@yarraranges.vic.gov.au 

Free Firewood proves popular 

Over the course of one week Yarra Ranges Council was able to provide firewood to roughly 1,000 residents/groups.

Between Monday 9 May and Saturday 14 May, most of the remaining storm tree debris  was split into firewood and distributed to the community.

Split wood was delivered from the processing site at Healesville Transfer Station, down the road to Don Road Recreation Reserve and also to Wandin East Recreation Reserve. 

Insurance Information

Insuring your house and property can be complex - we have worked with the Insurance Council of Australia to help you and have put together a guide to insuring your property. 

With the tips in this guide, you can be confident that you are fully protected and fully educated on what you need to do should a disaster strike your home. Following on from the Insurance Council of Australia workshops, we've also put together some FAQs around topics that were raised within the workshop. 

Some of these topics include extending the 12-month temporary housing, insurance premiums rising and  what questions you should be asking of your insurer. 

Insurance Recovery information

Business and Trader Group-led Recovery Grants

To help support our local businesses and revitalise our communities, we’re offering Business and Trader Group Led Recovery Grants.

Businesses in the Yarra Ranges have experienced significant impacts from the pandemic and severe storms in 2021. This grant program aims to support business and trader groups with their economic and social recovery and to improve their resilience to future shocks.

Applications are now open and Businesses and Trader Groups are invited to lodge an application on or before 13 June 2022

For more information about the grant program including eligibility, project suggestions and how to apply visit https://www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/.../Apply-for-Business...

Apply for the Recovery Grants here

Connect with us at the next pop-up recovery hub

Our Community Recovery teams are excited to be back out on the road again to meet and chat with our storm impacted residents and communities and help provide connections with the people who can support you and your recovery.

If you haven’t been to one of our Community Recovery Hubs on the Road before and you or someone you know has questions, needs information or access to support related to storm recovery, drop in to  our next  pop-up hub at Mount Evelyn, 50 Wray Crescent (Mount Evelyn Community House), Thursday 16 June, 1-5pm.

Save the Date - Lessons Learned Storm Review

Following the June storm, you, our community, asked for some information on what lessons Council had learned from the emergency. Council always undertakes a review of activities during any emergency to learn and grow and a summary of those lessons will be available shortly to the public.

This event is an opportunity for us to share with you the lessons we have learned and how we are improving for future emergencies. This event also provides the opportunity for you to find out more about specific topics. 

Dates are planned for:

  • Mt Dandenong: Wednesday 25 May  –  6.30 – 8.30pm 
  • Mt Evelyn: Sunday 29 May 3pm-5pm
Book a lessons learned session
Storm Recovery Outreach team

Our storm Outreach Recovery workers could be knocking on your door soon if you were impacted by the 2021 June storm.

Throughout late May our Outreach Recovery workers will be visiting vulnerable residents within the Lilydale, Montrose, Sherbrooke, Moorolbark and Upwey area. Throughout early June, they'll be in and around the Mount Evelyn area.

Support provided by our Recovery case workers may include:
➡️ An initial brief chat about your needs and what next steps might be appropriate
➡️ Information on how to access local services for additional support

Our fully vaccinated outreach team will have identification to introduce themselves to you and so far have been well received by residents. The team have already assisted a number of residents with many thankful for the face-to-face interaction and conversations. Some vulnerable residents have also been able to be referred to relevant agencies and received the adequate assistance or help needed. 

Habitat for Humanity Volunteering

Volunteers we need you!

Now that we’re enjoying some newfound freedom in Victoria, we need some volunteers to assist with our upcoming projects helping to repair homes from recent storm damage. If you have a few spare hours and would like to help a family in need, visit our website and register to become a volunteer:https://www.habitatvic.org.au/volunteer

Positions for unskilled and skilled volunteers!
Become a Habitat for Humanity Volunteer

Helpful contact information

Yarra Ranges Council - Community Recovery Team
For a range of support services and advice, contact Yarra Ranges Council's community recovery team.
1300 368 333
communityrecovery@yarraranges.vic.gov.au
Bushfire Recovery Victoria Storm and Flood Hotline
Access your own Recovery Support Worker
Mental health and wellbeing support
Financial counselling support
Information on available payments
1800 560 760
https://www.vic.gov.au/storm-clean-up-program
Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EMOV)
For resolving complaints about electricity, gas and water companies. Free for Victorian customers.
www.ewov.com.au
1800 500 509
EACH Financial Counselling Service
Financial counselling is a free and confidential service available for anyone affected by an emergency.
9871 1817
fcintake@each.com.au
Eastern Community Legal Centre (ECLC)
People living in the Yarra Ranges can seek free legal advice from ECLC.

1300 325 200
eclc@eclc.org.au
https://eclc.org.au/
 
Material Aid
If you are experiencing hardship, information on where to access material aid and other services can be found on Council's website.
 
Insurance
The Insurance Council of Australia is the general insurance industry body. Following disasters, we work closely with the community, government and insurers to help residents recover.

Please contact your insurer with any claims questions you may have. For general information, you can contact the Insurance Council of Australia on:

1300 728 228. 

 
National Debt Helpline
The National Debt Helpline is a telephone financial counselling service open from 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

The financial counsellors at the National Debt Helpline can put you in contact with your local face-to-face financial counselling service.

1800 007 007
www.ndh.org.au

Recovery Hubs

Appointments are now available through the Yarra Ranges Council Recovery Hub at Karwarra Gardens. Please call Sue Jack,

Recovery Centre And Outreach Coordinator to arrange appointments or to ask any questions you may have.

Karwarra Gardens Recovery Hub - 0477 056 265  

Renters Assistance
Tenant advice line 9416 2577
Monday to Friday 10.00 am – 2.00 pm
tenantsvic.org.au
Telecommunications
Free and independent phone and internet complaint services
1800 062 058
www.tio.com.au
Yarra Valley Water
If you’re concerned about being able to pay your bills, Yarra Valley Water can offer extra support and flexibility to suit your situation.
1800 994 789
https://www.yvw.com.au/help-advice/help-my-account/financial-help
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