The Bega Valley has been successful in gaining $38million for a number of projects and community building programs across the shire through Round 2 of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund (BLERF).
Key among them is a record $14.5million towards rebuilding and revitalising the main street of Cobargo.
In addition to the three major developments in the main street which were put forward by the Cobargo Community Development Corporation, another of the successful projects to receive BLERF funding was the Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre.
The proposal was put forward by the Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre (CBRC),a charitable organisation comprising of Cobargo residents.
The project, which has received $4.8million worth of funding, will be to create a multipurpose centre for the town which will commemorate the bushfires and what the loss meant to the town.
Before the Black Summer bushfires, numbers 70 and 72 on the Princess Hwy in Cobargo were weatherboard buildings.
Number 70 was a single storey building that was owned and operated by the Ayliffe family since the early 1940s. It contained the town's general store until the '80s when it was converted into a motorcycle dealership, and later a studio gallery.
Number 72 was a larger two storey building built in the 1880s and on the local heritage register. It became the Ayliffe family home in the 1940s until the '80s and was then a shop with housing above.
Now vacant blocks because of the bushfires, one of the sites will be purchased from the owner and the other will be donated by the Ayliffe family for the new Resilience Centre.
"First and foremost it will be a point of healing for locals. I hope it's going to be a centre that gives them pride in their town, where people can enjoy what the opportunities to share in the development of this themselves," said CBRC treasurer and public officer Brian Ayliffe.
The finalisation of the design and the purpose of the centre will be opened up to the community and the CBRC plans to bring the community along in the design and implementation of the museum complex.
Cobargo Bushfire Resilience Centre design aspects informed by needs of the community
The plans submitted for the grant funding show the ground floor with an exhibition space, a memorial garden, a theatrette, a café, retail space and a terrace.
The exhibition space will display both artefacts and also have interactive IT displays and the retail shop will most likely sell local products such as honey and art.
The commemorative garden will be an area of contemplation to remember the lives that were lost throughout the bushfire period.
The theatrette will be technologically advanced and allow for film screenings and to show footage taken by locals during the bushfires.
The second floor shows flexible commercial space and a terrace.
The flexible commercial space may be used as consulting or meeting rooms for professional people such as counsellors, accountants, lawyers, council support staff, or social workers.
The building itself will also show resilience through its design by using materials that prioritise climate responsiveness. The building will incorporate environmentally sustainable design practices while keeping in mind the rural vernacular and streetscape of the town.
What will the Bushfire Resilience Centre bring to the town of Cobargo?
Not only will the space be a museum, "but it's also a point of engaging people in some of the more difficult points of fire resilience," said Mr Ayliffe.
"The underlying message is we capture people's attention, we recognise and honour those lives that were lost and the efforts that were put in by so many different people from different organisations, but equally now, where do we move to next," he said.
It will be both confronting and a stark reminder of just how serious fire fighting is and the necessity for us to be prepared for it to happen again, because it will happen again and probably if the scientists are correct, it will happen at an increased and shortened intervals.CBRC treasurer and public officer Brian Ayliffe
Mr Ayliffe also hopes the centre will also be a place where conversation are opened up about areas such as climate change, Indigenous burning practices and their effectiveness, on land management and fuel reductions policies.
"It's capturing the opportunity to introduce some of the less savoury aspects of fire resilience. Do we build back the same? Can we afford to live with the bush up to our back door and if so what are the consequences of what will be required to survive?"
The other side of the development is about supporting the commercial hub of the town to provide employment on a small scale for the town's young people.
The CBRC also felt it was important to create a space that is unique and will increase the tourism potential of the town as is done on the coast through beaches and water activities.
"When you get into the hinterland then we need something that is equally supportive of the commercial enterprise within our towns and this is what we hope the resilience centre will be able to bring," said Mr Ayliffe.
- An earlier version of this story referenced the second floor showing two large exhibition spaces. Information supplied to BDN was that these were intended for this usage however with more information it was revealed that these are actually void spaces. This means that those spaces are double height. There is no second storey over the southern part of the building. The only second storey contains the commercial space.