The Daily Telegraph reported on July 3rd that more than six months after inferno ripped through historic Cobargo, the rebuild can finally begin for businesses on the town’s strip as clean up on the main street is completed.
While the residents of bushfire ravaged Cobargo still have a long recovery ahead, there has been a glimmer of good news with the completion of key main road works.
Buildings destroyed by the bushfires have been fully cleared, and now business owners are able to move to the rebuild stage.
This is the before pic:
And this is now:
2,800 destroyed properties have been cleared since the works began in January, with asbestos and heritage elements contributing to a slow process.
Laing O’Rourke, the contractor of the clean up effort, said an addition 900 properties are expected to be cleared by the end of the month.
“Laing O’Rourke is pleased to confirm bushfire clean-up works along Cobargo’s main street have been completed,” a spokesman said.
“Right from the start Laing O’Rourke understood the clean-up of Cobargo’s main street was a high priority for the community and we worked closely with the NSW Government and our local supply chain partners to complete the works as quickly and safely as possible so that the community could begin to rebuild and move on,” the spokesman said.
“The team worked hard to ensure heritage items could be preserved where possible, including fire grates and brick work from heritage chimneys and original pressed metal sheeting.
“The team was also able to salvage part of the train from the Train Café, at the owner’s request, in the hope it can become a feature of the rebuild.”
The Cobargo fires, which raged at its worst in December, claimed the lives of Robert Salway and his son Patrick, and claimed the homes of scores of locals.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the finishing of clean up on the main street meant businesses could start to move on.
“The Cobargo community have been to hell and back with the devastating fires that tore through their town only a short time ago,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Laing O’Rourke faced a huge challenge in clearing up Cobargo main street and did a great job in managing the many heritage items that have great significance to the town,” he said.
“Having now completed the clearing of Cobargo main street, business owners and residents can now get on with the next stage of recovery and start to move on from what has been a truly devastating time.”