Community Hub takes on disaster response

Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Community stories: 22 February 2023

Around three hours drive from Adelaide, along the beautiful coast, the Southern Yorke Peninsula Community Hub (SYP) is a central organisation that offers a range of services to its community.

From faxing, to printing, to car and boat licenses, the Hub provides tourist information and is home to the local Salt Lakes Gallery. With a role as big as this in the community, it makes sense that the Hub would be crucial during emergencies.

In November 2019, bushfires occurred in isolated rural areas along the Peninsula, putting many towns at risk. The community of Yorketown was in the fire path until a wind change moved it along to then endanger the township of Edithburgh. The fires impacted power supplies, road closures and communications for prolonged periods. The SYP Community Hub supported the community as a response centre throughout this event.

Since the 2019 bushfires, SYP Community Hub has been heavily involved in coordinating disaster recovery services. This included purchasing a custom-built trailer, the first in the Yorke Peninsula Council area. Using a $24,950 Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) grant, funded by a private donor, the trailer has become a multipurpose community resource.

During emergencies, the trailer will enable deployment of supplies such as food, water and basic first aid. It will also assist in distributing supplies to volunteers and act as a rest station during incident response. The versatility of the trailer also means that it can be used during community-led events.

The impact the trailer has had on the community has been exceptional. “The response from residents is one of pride in its completion and the feeling of readiness should they once again be faced with an crisis like the 2019 bushfires. The community is better prepared, trained appropriately and with a strong band of volunteers.”

Like many plans during the last few years, the start of the project was delayed due to COVID. Materials were in short supply and the engineering firm responsible for building the trailer was hit by COVID and forced to close for a period of time. But once they were able to safely get back to work, the trailer came together nicely.