National Parks and Wildlife staff were met with a scene of devastation at the Selwyn Snow Resort on Sunday, after bushfires blazed through the high country on Saturday evening.
The damage to lifting and snowmaking infrastructure is still being assessed, according to reports from the snow resort’s staff, but they have confirmed that the resort’s buildings have been “severely damaged by the fire.”
Andrew Dunkerley, Group Operations Manager for Blyton Group, says they haven’t been able to access the resort, but are using the pictures provided by the National Parks Service to make preliminary plans.
“We’re in constant contact with the RFS and National Parks about when it’s safe for us to do a full assessment of the lay of the land and what it looks like,” says Dunkerly.
“We’re going to rebuild, no matter what, it’s just a matter of the timeframe.”
In an official statement, the Blyton Group, owner of the resort, said they are “committed to Selwyn Snow Resort” and the Group says, “Our focus now is on rebuilding an even better Selwyn.
“We look forward to working with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment and other relevant agencies in this process.”
Dunkerly says it’s likely that the ski runs at the resort will remain the same as in past seasons, but the final decision will depend on whether any chair lifts have been damaged in the fire.
“One of the important things for us is that no one was injured,” says Dunkerly.
“We evacuated all our staff before the fire hit. It’s a positive that everyone’s safe.”
While the resort is considering its timeframe for rebuilding, Dunkerly says they’ll also consider surrounding businesses and homeowners as they make their plans.
“With Selwyn, it’s a business, we can rebuild, but it does have a flow-on effect with the community around us and we’re mindful of that as well.”
As far as the likelihood of having a ski season in 2020, Dunkerly says it’s, “Too early to tell.”
The Blyton Group says it will be sharing more information about its plans in the coming days, after they’re able to fully assess the damage.
Elsewhere, preliminary reports say that the buildings in the complex around Yarrangobillly Caves were saved by a small and dedicated crew of fire fighters. As of press time, there had been no update on the status of the Kiandra Courthouse, amid speculation on social media that the historic buildings were damaged by fire.