BUSHFIRE recovery chief Christine Nixon has been forced to pull out of a trip to the North East today following the death of a Black Saturday victim.
Ms Nixon, the chairwoman of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority, had been expected to hear about the progress of recovery efforts at a forum at the Happy Valley Hall, at Rosewhite, at 3 o’clock this afternoon.
But an authority spokeswoman said she would be attending the funeral of somebody touched by the Black Saturday fires today and had been forced to cancel her North East trip.
She said Ms Nixon was expected to return next month, with a gap in her diary in the middle of June.
Alpine Shire community services manager Trevor Britten said it was “disappointing” that Ms Nixon was not coming.
“It’s probably more disappointing for the community but we understand Christine has something urgent she needs to attend to and I understand that as well,” Mr Britten said.
“Unfortunately, because of the short notice of that, she can’t send a deputy; the obvious one would be the chief executive of VBRRA Ben Hubbard but I believe he’s got appointments.”
A forum scheduled for 4.30pm at the hall will still proceed, with the council unveiling options for Black Saturday memorials in the shire.
They include a park in Myrtleford featuring a plaque and sculpture depicting burnt trees; a shelter and signage at Rosewhite Gap telling how the fire spread, and memorial markers at Mudgegonga, Rosewhite and Running Creek halls.
Mr Britten said the council was keen to hear from citizens, with forms to be distributed this afternoon for comments on the proposals and further submissions being taken until June 4.
“This has been quite a long process so far, so we’re keen to be moving it along and very keen to get these comments from people and get going with it,” Mr Britten said.
He said the council was likely to decide on the proposals at its July meeting with activity, following more design work, expected to begin by the end of the year.
The memorials, which will come from a $103,000 grant from the bushfire authority, should be completed by the second anniversary of Black Saturday on February 7.