Community rebuilding in the Blue Mountains

The Emma Pde park in Winmalee was originally created by the local residents in the 1970s. The area around the park was badly impacted by the Linksview fire in 2013, with Emma Pde and Sunny Ridge Rd being one of the most concentrated areas of damage.

We have held more than 10 working bees at the park, with a total of eighteen local residents volunteering to assist. The garden beds have been restored with native plants selected to attract birds, a line of screening shrubs planted along one fence line, and two park benches installed with the assistance of BMCC.

Blue Mountains City Council has generously contributed to the park’s rejuvenation with advice, tree removal and the supply of mulch, as well as donating money towards plant costs.

Cheryl Kirby has lived in Emma Parade for more than 40 years with her husband Neil and said the park replanting had renewed spirits.

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“It has brought about an environment where people can gather together or just come to sit on one of the new park benches to relax among the plants,” Mrs Kirby said. “Children once again are at play and our street is alive with its new community. The park now says, ‘welcome home’.

“It has been a great experience. A lot of residents got to spend time with each other as well as getting the satisfaction of helping restore the park. Some of the people we worked with had lost homes, other people had almost lost homes. We had a lot of people come and help at the working bees, and we got to know some of these people really well. One side of Emma Parade lost a lot of homes. Some people rebuilt their homes but others didn’t, so people lost neighbours and people they’d known for years. One of things I have most enjoyed when working at the park is listening to the birds who have returned to the area.”

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