Roses Gap Recreation Centre to welcome first campers since Grampians bushfire

POWERING ON: Roses Gap Recreation Centre owner Lynda Sutherland prepares for the business’s re-opening next month. Solar panels replaced three generators destroyed in the Grampians bushfire in January. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

POWERING ON: Roses Gap Recreation Centre owner Lynda Sutherland prepares for the business’s re-opening next month. Solar panels replaced three generators destroyed in the Grampians bushfire in January. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

ROSES Gap Recreation Centre will next month welcome its first group of campers since it was burnt out during the Grampians bushfire.

Owner Lynda Sutherland said the first bus would roll in on July 14, the start of the third school term.

“From July to mid-December we’ll have about 2000 children coming through,” she said.

“In that short time, that’s a lot of kids coming in to the Grampians.”

Grampians bushfire in pictures

Mrs Sutherland and her son Drew vowed after the fire to have the family business re-opened by term three.

She said at the time it had seemed an ambitious plan.

The centre’s three power generators were destroyed by the blaze, as was the community’s water supply.

Accommodation cabins, storage sheds and equipment, activities areas and the Sutherland’s house were also reduced to ashes.

Roses Gap residents received water through a pipeline connected to nearby Beehive Falls.

Quick action by Northern Grampians Shire Council saw the water supply re-instated within weeks.

Mrs Sutherland said the centre had also installed a new water tank and improved its water system.

“We used to run off three power generators,” she said. 

“Now we have solar panels and a battery bank.

“We have a smaller generator to help us if we need it, but we shouldn’t need it much.

“We’ve been running off solar for a couple of weeks now.”

Construction of a new low-ropes activity course should be finished soon, and five new accommodation cabins will arrive at the end of the month.

“That’s all we’ll have to start with, but that’s all we’ll need to get running again,” Mrs Sutherland said.

“We hope to have everything in by Christmas.”

She thanked everyone who had helped with the centre’s recovery.

Staff supported their employer through the tough times, schools stuck by their camp bookings and community members rallied behind the family.

“Because we’ve been burnt out and the schools have been so good to us, we’ve probably squashed extra bookings in,” Mrs Sutherland said.

“We probably wouldn’t have had quite 2000 children visiting in six months before the fire.

“A lot of our schools have said they would like the children to come and see that even though we have been burnt out, we can get up and running again.

“I think it’s good for the kids to see.

“After all, we live in Australia – there are always going to be fires.”

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