Rebuilding in the wake of tragedy

Article image - Rebuilding in the wake of tragedy Wakefield Regional Council Community Development Officer Holly Cowan (front far left) and Mayor Rodney Reid (front far right) amongst many important organisations who have made the tank project possible. Photo via Plains Producer Newspaper.

After a devastating fire a few years ago, South Australian councils including Wakefield Regional Council are building up resilience and strengthening inter-local government relationships.

In November 2015 a fire started at Pinery in South Australia’s Lower Mid North.

In just one afternoon the fire burned 82,600 hectares leaving a fire scar with the perimeter of 265.4 kilometres.

Tragically two lives were lost and five people suffered critical injuries.
Amongst other losses, 97 houses were destroyed, 546 sheds and outbuildings were destroyed or incurred major damage and major stock losses included 18,000 sheep and 54,000 poultry.

The fire burned across four Council areas including Wakefield Regional Council, Adelaide Plains Council, Clare and Gilbert Valleys and Light Regional Council.

Despite the losses and impact on the Plains communities, through the smoke shone bright hope in the community spirit and the extraordinary recovery that started through local organisations, local and state government and individuals. Inter-local government relationships were strengthened through information sharing, collaborative recovery efforts and through the Local Recovery Committee and Community Action Group meetings.

One of the initiatives came to fruition in June 2016, when the Adelaide Plains Football League (APFL), the South Australian Community Football League (SACFL) and associated clubs held a
fundraiser, Kick in for Pinery to raise funds towards infrastructure for water collection to secure the region against any future bushfire disasters.

Funds raised purchased six 216KL zincalume water tanks for installation in the Pinery fire scar and surrounding area to be located on land within Wakefield Regional Council and Adelaide Plains Council areas. Each of the tanks and their associated fittings has a value of $25,000, but through generous donations organised by Pioneer Tanks, they cost much less.

Wakefield Regional Council has been working with the communities and has committed to the ongoing water, maintenance, insurance and service fee costs for tanks at the townships of Pinery, Owen and Lochiel.
This project is a great example of collaboration with over 40 sponsors contributing to the project.
Funding for installation of the Owen and Pinery tanks was supported by the generous donations from the South Australian community and government through the State Emergency Relief Fund with further funds announced for Lochiel through the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) Grants SA program.
On 10 April this year, the first of three tanks in Wakefield Regional Council area was launched in Pinery with local people, the Country Fire Service, Council, SACFL, APFL and other stakeholders in attendance.
The project will assist to build resilience and natural disaster preparedness in the region and will supplement water supplies during any future bush fire-fighting operations by eliminating the time needed to source water supplies for fire units.
This project is one of many delivered to support the recovery effort and a small way that Council can support ongoing resilience building at a local level.