The Blue Mountains declared a Natural Disaster Area following record-breaking rains
As the rain continues to fall, the Blue Mountains is experiencing a range of significant issues, from road closures, to fallen trees, and flooding.
Following the latest torrential rain and storm activity, the Blue Mountains was added to the list of Natural Disaster Areas on Monday 7 March (backdated to 22 February), and unfortunately, more rain is predicted this week.
Council is urging residents to exercise extreme caution, and minimise movements around the City, as much as possible.
Blue Mountains Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said: “The Council and I are urging everyone to limit movements and to be extremely careful if you need to move around. The risks are very real, and very high. Be aware of falling trees – the immense amount of rain that has fallen has softened the ground considerably.
“This is the third major storm and flood event we’ve experienced in as many years, and it is taking its toll on our natural environment, our infrastructure, and on our community,” Mayor Greenhill said. “Being added to the Natural Disaster Areas list is a good thing. It opens doors to resources and support mechanisms that will be vital to managing the crisis, and in the clean up to follow.
“I’d also strongly encourage everyone to make use of the new Emergency Dashboard Council launched at the end of last year. It’s a brilliant resource designed to provide local, up to the minute information during these kinds of events.
The Emergency Dashboard includes updates from emergency services, latest news, and local road closures, as well as helpful recovery information. You can access the dashboard online: emergency.bmcc.nsw.gov.au
For all storm-related damage, including trees you think are at imminent risk of falling, your first call should be to the SES on 132 500. They are equipped and resourced to respond during this kind of emergency and weather event.
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, as always, call 000 immediately.
If you need to report an issue with a local (Council-owned) road or facility, you can do so via:
• Council’s website: bmcc.nsw.gov.au/report-an-issue
• Emailing Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Calling Council: 4780 5000 (upper mountains) or 4723 5000 (lower mountains)
There is a significant risk during a storm and severe rain event. The safety of our community is our number one priority, and we advise all residents to:
- Avoid all travel, even short distances, unless absolutely necessary.
- Stay home – the safest place to be is inside your house.
- Avoid walking, camping or driving in storm conditions and heavy rains.
- Be aware of falling trees – the immense amount of rain that has fallen has softened the ground considerably, which can lead to trees losing their grip and falling with no warning.
- Take extra precautions against mosquito bites, as mosquito-borne illnesses increase in flood-affected areas.
- Avoid driving or walking through floodwaters – you don’t know what’s hiding in the water, if the road has been damaged, or how fast the current is travelling.
Impact on Council facilities
A number of Council facilities are experiencing water leaks and damage. If you are visiting one of our facilities, please be aware of your surroundings, and follow the directions of all signage and staff.
The Blackheath Library is closed until further notice, due to significant water damage.
A large number of outdoor works and projects are also halted, due to the weather. This includes mowing and sportsground maintenance, and park upgrades and works. Burials are also on hold.
Our outdoor crews are doing checks of locations to ensure there is no dangerous trees or debris. We are only making things safe at the moment, and some things we can’t fix until the weather clears.
Domestic waste collections are happening as normal. If your street is closed, please leave your bins out and our trucks will return to collect your bins as soon as possible.
If you have green waste (tree branches etc.) to clean up due to the storms, please use either your fortnightly green bin collection, or the free kerb-side pick-ups. Please do not leave your green waste on the nature strip unless you have booked a pick-up service: bmcc.nsw.gov.au/BookedWasteService
Managing the clean-up
Once the rain stops, it may take a week or more for the ground to dry out sufficiently, to allow Council staff to mow them without damaging equipment and sportsground surfaces. There will likely be a delay in getting the mowing program back on schedule, as we are at the mercy of the weather conditions.
Council’s ongoing projects and upgrade works will also be impacted by this event and the clean-up effort that will follow. The damage across the LGA from the storms and flooding is significant, and Council resources will be stretched beyond capacity to get things back to working order and safe for the community.
“I know it’s endlessly frustrating for the community to be told Council projects and works will be delayed, and I assure you it’s as frustrating for the Council staff who work so hard on those projects,” Mayor Greenhill continued.
“But repairs and safety come first, they take time, and come at a substantial cost. So I am once again asking our incredible community for their understanding and patience as we work to repair our roads and infrastructure moving forward.”