By Jesse Graham
The work of volunteers to help the community recover from the 9 October storms was recognised with a barbecue event at Lillydale Lake.
On Saturday 11 February, about 50 volunteers, community group members and Yarra Ranges Council staff were treated to a barbecue lunch and a visit from Emergency Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley to thank them for their work.
Council’s executive officer of emergency management and community safety and organiser of the event Corinne Bowen said the day was a “nice surprise” for people who helped in the effort to clean up after last year’s storm.
The storm saw 120km/h winds hit the Yarra Ranges on Sunday 9 October, downing power lines and trees, with tourist sites and building sites damaged and a Millgrove woman killed as a result of a falling tree.
“We had volunteers that volunteered to actual work for the clean-up campaign and some that were part of Volunteers Victoria, some local community leaders as well and, obviously, council staff that had been heavily involved in the campaign,” Ms Bowen said.
“The storm was a significant event, in that it did cause widespread devastation and a lot of disruption to our communities.
“It was just a way of thanking people who gave up their time so generously to do that – it’s always important to say thank you.”
Mr Lapsley spoke on the day about forming connections between community groups and leaders, so areas like the Yarra Ranges can respond to disasters and become more resilient.
“He was just highlighting that everyone in the community plays a role – whether you’re part of a primary school, a church group, a sporting club, we all play a part in connecting and coming together in the event of an emergency or a recovery,” Ms Bowen said.
“By developing and creating more of these community connections with community leaders, it bolsters community resilience.”