Yowrie resident and Landcare Chair Ken Masters says shifting goalposts have prevented funding reaching areas most severely affected by the Black Summer bushfires.
He said grants have been rejected due to what he said was an opaque process.
"There's changing goalpost with grants depending on who is running it and what the guidelines are for that specific grant."
For example, Mr Masters put in two grant applications for the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) Package, part of the $4.5 billion bushfire support program co-funded by the Australian and NSW governments for bushfire recovery, response and preparedness in NSW.
The program objective stated in the guidelines, "is to support economic and social recovery at a local and regional level in areas impacted by the 2019- 2020 bushfires.
"The BLER Fund will support job retention and creation in these regions, strengthen community resilience and reduce the impact future natural disasters will have on our communities.
"The majority of funding should be committed to the areas most impacted by the fires."
At the end of June 2021, it was announced that the Eurobodalla and Bega Valley shires had been allocated $61.59 million for bushfire recovery projects.
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The first Yowrie grant application, for an estimated cost of $1.3 million, was for a community centre that would act as a facility for the Rural Fire Service as there exists no public building for this purpose in Yowrie. The nearest RFS base is at Cobargo.
It was also supposed to act as a meeting place for residents to seek safety in the case of a fire due to its fire suppression system. The grant application was rejected.
A second unsuccessful grant application was for a 5km sealed road project that was costed by council at $3.6 million.
Mr Masters alleged that the road grant was rejected on the basis that the council should have put in grants for roads instead of residents or a Landcare group.
"When we found out we didn't get the grant, and there's all these other places around that got money, we were actually really, really upset.
"Yowrie was completely burnt to the ground three hours before Cobargo. We don't have anywhere to go out here, we're 20km away from any firefighting facilities or anyone trying to be out here to help us, we had nowhere to fall back to.
"The Yowrie Valley was completely burnt to the ground right and yet money went to Bermagui, Money went to Narooma, and money went to Tilba, Tilba didn't get burned by the fire.
"There was skate parks and walk paths and all kinds of weird things that got money," he said.
Mr Masters met with the grant committee following the announcement and they allegedly claimed one of the reasons the community centre was rejected was because they had only put in a 10 per cent contingency in their grant, not deemed to be sufficient.
"It was costed at $2,500 dollars per square metre to produce the building, but if you're going to build it for any more than that sort of money, I'm not sure what building you're building, it must be gold plated.
"We had everyone on board, the council, Kristy McBain, Essential Energy, and the Department of Primary Industries had written a letter of support for our project, all the design work and surveying was already done."
The other reason he was told the project was rejected was due to not outlining enough risks in the risk assessment section.
"The risks that I put down there are the risks that manifested, what else do you want?
"I'm very particular when I put these grants in, I try to be as honest, plain, and accurate as I can in the description of everything.
"One of the risks they used as an example was a succession plan so that if Yowrie Landcare Group executive decided not to re-elect or move on, what would be the plan and how would we continue the project," he said.
"For us to be told that we didn't apply for enough money and that we didn't put in enough risk mitigation, that is just an unbelievable reason to not build this building.
"I'm upset about that and I think we've been let down, the community has been let down here, we've made a concerted effort to put in an application for that BLER funding and we did a comprehensive plan."
He said that the response he was given from council in relation to the road was that they have other road building works prioritised before the Yowrie road.
"I feel like council is happy to take our money, happy to take our rates, charge us fees for lots of different things, but Yowrie people don't have a way out of here."
Although Mr Masters said he has "real grant fatigue," he has not given up the fight and will reapply to the third round of BLER funding for the Yowrie community centre when the guidelines are released.
"There's going to be future catastrophic conditions and problems, we all know that, that's why we're trying to get this building built, we're not going to stop anyway, we're pretty keen to get it built."