During the bushfires, facilities at Bega Showground, the primary emergency evacuation centre for Bega and surrounds, were found to be inadequate and outdated to cope with the number of evacuees and the duration of their stay.  Rotary said that although additional portable toilet and shower facilities were brought in they were not ideal, difficult to clean and linked to an outbreak of digestive illness which required they be deep cleaned late at night.

Now local Rotary clubs are driving a project to replace the standalone amenities block at the Bega Showground with a larger capacity, modern, easy to clean facility which will have better disabled access and provide some laundry facilities which do not currently exist.

Meeting outside the existing amenities block on 21 September to map out the boundary of the new facility. Have you used these facilities? We are urgently seeking donations to get construction going. Any amount welcome - https://donations.rawcs.com.au/20-2020-21
Sue Jellis (President) Merimbula Rotary presenting Dorothea Polonyi (President) Bega Rotary a cheque of $3000 for the much needed upgrade of the Bega evacuation centre amenities block. This a great kick start to the project but much more is needed. 
Photo from left to right: Sue Jellis - President Merimbula Rotary, Charlie Bell - Bega Showground Land Manager,
Dorothea Polonyi - President Bega Rotary, Phil Elsey - Bega Rotary and Anne Ducray - Bega Rotary
If you were one of the many people who sought refuge at the Bega Showground during the bushfires or someone who might otherwise use the facilities, Rotary is raising funds to replace the stand alone amenities block.  This is a much-needed upgrade at what is the primary Emergency Evacuation Centre for Bega and surrounding districts.
Bega Showground on 5/1/20  Photo Courtesy of BVSC 

Merimbula Rotarian Shane Osta is the project manager for the work that is expected to cost in the region of $260,000.

"The existing facilities are well past their use-by date and have both structural and plumbing issues," Mr Osta said.

"There's no disabled facilities and very little that complies. They are believed to have been built in the 1970s," he said.

Currently the block has three toilets and one shower is both the men's and women's facilities.

"We are going to replace them with four toilets and two showers in the men's and women's facilities, and a separate disabled toilet and baby changing area. There will also be coin-operated laundry facilities and troughs in an annexe with a storeroom.

"It's going to be environmentally friendly with solar lighting, ventilation and the maximum use of insulation. Potable (drinking) water will be used for showers and basins with a separate bore water connection for the toilets and laundry," Mr Osta explained.

The Rotary clubs plan to start work in February 2021 and expect to complete the project in June the same year.

"We've got the contractors booked, we just need the money. We need $100,000 to get started," Mr Osta said.

The Rotary clubs have put in $9000, Council has agreed to do all inspections at no cost and the showground land manager has put in for a grant but the rest is up to the public, Mr Osta said.

He knows only too well what the facilities are like as he volunteered as a member of Marine Rescue, at the Bega Showground during the bushfires.

"It's a bit of a heartfelt thing watching on the worst day as Marine Rescue ferried patients, food, linen and then helped to clean up afterwards," Mr Osta said.

"We cleaned Big W out of air beds, linen, pillows and assembled about 30 fans to get the air moving in the evac centre."

Afterwards the clean up was huge with every piece of linen being washed and sterilised before being donated to the Social Justice Advocates to distribute to those who had lost their homes and possessions in the bushfires.

"Now we just need the rest of the money and would be very happy to talk with any local businesses if they want to donate," he said.  Any additional funds donated will go towards improvement of emergency evacuation facilities at Eden.

If you would like to donate, you can do so (it's tax deductible) please click on https://donations.rawcs.com.au/20-2020-21