Mountain community mobilises for the well-being of residents

One of the first things the new group will push is the upgrade of the public amenities block at Spencer

A new community group formed in the Lower Hawkesbury district is determined to make life a little easier for residents.

River Cares has a vision to enhance the safety and wellbeing of the people, the heritage, the environment and local businesses of the area.

President Robyn Downham, who has long been active in community matters, said 2019/2020 had posed some challenging times for the remote and isolated communities of Lower Mangrove.

“(We survived) first the drought, next the fires, followed by the cyclonic storms, then the floods and now COVID-19,” Downham said.

“There have been and continue to be many lessons learnt from all of these recent events and past experiences, which highlight the lack of communication, lack of services and lack of awareness of the needs of our diverse communities by all levels of government and other service providers.

“However, we also need to acknowledge one of the reasons many of us chose to live in our unique communities is for the remoteness and privacy – living ‘off grid’.

“It’s about finding a safe balance in which to live for both young and old.”

Downham said the group would focus on improving community infrastructure, building resilience, strengthening community cohesion and providing the right type of support to residents and visitors.

On the agenda will be, among other things, helping connect residents to services such as financial assistance, transport and affordable health services; promoting local businesses and providing residents an emergency information resource pack.

“First we will assess the needs of our communities by conducting a door to door survey over the next few months,” Downham said.

“We have already started establishing relationships with various community services and Central Coast Council to arrange information days and webinars.

“We are applying for grants to obtain funding to help provide some of the services we need and have engaged with the Community Defib Project in Wisemans Ferry to expand the installation of Automatic Emergency Defibrillators throughout the Lower Hawkesbury River District through to Mangrove Mountain.”

Downham said among projects to be tackled in the short term would be improving mobile phone service, opening full access to Mangrove Creek Rd for emergency access, the upgrade of the public toilets in Spencer ad the upgrade of Wisemans Ferry Rd.

Media release, Aug 15
River Cares