Thanks to Stuart Absalom who wrote this article for The Triangle (August 2021)
At the start of November last year, South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) Community Energy Working
Group members met to discuss an important funding round that had just been announced by the NSW Government. With the huge amount of $250 million targeted at bushfire-affected areas in NSW, the so-called BLERF funding (Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund) seemed a great opportunity. SHASA had already started working on possible community energy projects with the Tilba area community – at this meeting various possibilities were thrown around particularly as the funding guidelines nominated community hall upgrades as eligible.
Of course we know the outcome now! Impressively, the Tilba Halls Future Resilience Project received full funding – $1,048,399 – as part of nearly $62 million to be spent across many projects in the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley Shires. (See press release p 5.) The project will be managed through a collaboration between SHASA and the Central Tilba School of Arts Trust Inc (CTSOAT). The Steering Committee – three members from each organisation – is already meeting weekly. The funding is a solid endorsement of the value of the Halls to our local community as well as validation of the excellent submission that was compiled during the last Christmas/ New Year period – the original application deadline was mid-December extended to 27 January. Even with the extension it was no mean feat – think getting quotes during the major holiday period! Well done to all involved.
SHASA works across the whole Eurobodalla Council area and has been key to many community-focussed energy projects. While the Tilba Halls project will be an important focus for the next couple of years, SHASA is continuing to work with the Tilba community to progress other work. Currently there are discussions with Tilba Real Dairy to look at better electricity usage and energy storage. A major challenge for SHASA is to get funding into the area for community energy projects.