Blue Mountains News
Turnbull Government Delivers Funding for Investigation of Emergency Escape Access Route
The Coalition Government granted the funding to Hawkesbury City Council (HCC) to undertake the investigation, which was a 2016 election commitment.
The project will involve the investigation and design of a 4WD emergency access route for all emergency vehicles, including bridge access along the route of Mt Irvine Road and Bowens Creek Road which has been closed for many years and potentially makes residents and tourists vulnerable in emergency situations. The investigation will include engineering and technical studies and plans and costings for future works.
“The Coalition is providing funding for the first stage of the project which is an investigation into an escape route for emergency vehicles in the Upper Blue Mountains during natural disasters and other emergency situations,” Senator Payne said.
Member of the Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Rural Fire Brigade Executive, Elizabeth Montano said the Brigade, based in the Blue Mountains, regularly assists NSW Police Rescue in search and rescue operations for lost and injured bushwalkers and canyoners.
“The Brigade has a long history of providing emergency services support in a remote and geographically challenging environment,” Ms Montano said.
“The Brigade has been deeply concerned about the loss of direct emergency vehicle access between Mt Wilson/ Mt Irvine and Bells Line of Rd at Bilpin, which had been closed due to its poor condition, particularly on the Hawkesbury side. This access route provided an essential piece of emergency services infrastructure between the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury.
“The Brigade is looking to the Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) and Hawkesbury City Council to work together strategically to protect both communities,” Ms Montano said.
“The current feasibility study to determine how to restore the route is a good step forward and, as a major stakeholder on behalf of our community, the Brigade looks forward to working closely with the two Councils to get this route restored.”
Hawkesbury Liberal Councillor Sarah Richards welcomed the funding.
“I am pleased that this election commitment has been honoured and that the federal government funding has been provided to HCC to undertake this study that will ascertain what needs to be done to make this vital access road open again to emergency vehicles,” Cr Richards said.
While the Coalition has provided the funding for this investigation, Hawkesbury City Council is managing its delivery.
Photo: Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Marise Payne examines a map of the area for a potential escape route with Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Rural Fire Service President and Deputy Captain, David Howell; Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine RFS Brigade Executive, Elizabeth Montano and Hawkesbury Liberal Councillors Nathan Zamprogno and Sarah Richards.
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