A 213-tonne convoy transporting 10 demountable buildings donated by ATCO through the Business Council of Australia’s BizRebuild project travelled 357 kilometres to the bushfire-devastated village of Mogo on Saturday, marking the start of work on the new Mogo pop-up mall.
The demountable buildings will be fitted out over the next three weeks by local tradesmen and suppliers.
The temporary mall will house up to 10 local Mogo businesses, who lost their premises, equipment and merchandise when the village was hit hard by bushfires on New Year’s Eve.
“The Mogo pop-up mall is giving burnt-out small-business owners hope and reassurance that the Australian business community cares about them. We are doing everything we can to help regions like Mogo get back on their feet after the devastating fires,’’ said Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott.
BizRebuild was launched by former governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove, with the aim to get money and action on the ground of fire-ravaged communities as fast as possible.
Just days after its launch, BizRebuild sat down with around 50 mayors and local businesses from bushfire-devastated communities to better understand the extent of the damage. The information circulated at the meeting birthed the idea of pop-up malls to provide temporary shopfronts for gutted businesses.
“By helping businesses recover, we are building stronger communities. I am extremely proud of the overwhelming response from the business community to lend a hand during this time of need, including ATCO for generously donating the demountable buildings,’’ Ms Westacott said.
Sir Peter, who has led several domestic and international disaster recoveries, said: “The business community’s response to the tragedy of these bushfires is philanthropic, compassionate and very practical in its approach.
“Businesses are the glue that keep people in a community, and we cannot stand by and allow small and local businesses to fail and communities to fade away.”
The initial local businesses in the Mogo pop-up mall will be Roman Leathergoods, Boho Chic in Mogo, Alison Thomson Accounting & Taxation, Mogo Mutts, ABC Property Sales and La Shabbie.
According to BCA, the pop-up mall will operate until alternative arrangements have been made for local businesses, which is expected to take about 12 months to two years.
BizRebuild is designed to be part of Australia’s long-term rebuilding and recovery effort following the initial emergency response, and its initiatives will complement the work of the federal government’s National Bushfire Recovery Agency and other charities.