The organisers of the three main events that draw visitors to Bermagui are relieved that the new Wallaga Lake Bridge work plan will not greatly impact them..
They remain concerned though at the impact of the planned 24/7 bridge closures on the community and businesses.
The timing of ReBoot Bermagui (October long weekend), Sculpture Bermagui (March) and Four Winds Music Festival (Easter) extends the visitation season beyond summer.
This helps local businesses get through the quiet winter months.
Ivan Baker, president of Sculpture Bermagui, said data indicates that on the first Saturday of the exhibition expenditure in Bermagui almost doubled.
Under one of Transport for NSW's original proposals for essential work on Wallaga Lake Bridge, the bridge would have been closed weekdays 9am to 3pm in October, March and April, potentially threatening the events' viability.
"Events are barely scraping through," Mr Baker said.
"The collective voice of the arts are all concerned" after the sector has been pummelled by the Black Summer bushfires and COVID, he said.
Impact on community, businesses
Mr Baker said Transport for NSW suggested it would be open to providing information signs on the highway to help promote events and "more advice on that would be helpful".
More broadly, "a lot of the businesses are experiencing difficulty anyway, without having the bridge closed 24/7 for up to seven weeks", Mr Baker said.
Executive director of Four Winds Leigh Small said they acknowledged that the shorter closure periods proposed are an improvement.
"However, we continue to be concerned about the negative impacts on our community," Ms Small said.
Some inconvenience inevitable
Julie Rutherford, a member of the ReBoot Bermagui committee, said Transport for NSW had listened to people and in general it is a positive outcome.
"I would rather see a brand new bridge and most of us would like to see a whole lot of work done on that bridge and causeway," Ms Rutherford said.
She said given Bermagui's access to the north is over the bridge and the town is surrounded by water, people have to accept a bit of inconvenience.
"The fires have taught us we need all those exits open and in working order so the work has to be done.
"We are certainly going to have some inconvenience but it is a much better outcome than we expected.
"Full credit to the Chamber of Commerce and all those who lobbied and made Transport for NSW aware of what the community would accept."
Unfortunately, Tilba Festival, scheduled for July 13, coincides with the scheduled 24/7 close of the bridge July 8-28.
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