Bemboka business already seeing drop-off after Brown Mountain landslide

Businesses in Bemboka are feeling the pinch after a landslide closed one lane of the highway on Brown Mountain – and they will suffer even more if the road is shut off completely during repairs, business owners say.

On Monday, part of the Snowy Mountains Highway disintegrated on the mountain after heavy rains.

A similar incident occurred in early 2012 – but back then the road was closed for six weeks, leading to huge financial losses for the small town's businesses. 

"We lost a farm because of it," Jim Williams of The Drovers Rest Café said of the 2012 landslide. 

"We have recovered now; we don't have a farm, but we have a house, a business and enjoy good trade."

The Drovers Rest has seen a good November and December, but Mr Williams said by Thursday the traffic ceased.


If the highway is closed again he said it will have a "dramatic impact" as Bemboka businesses rely on passing trade. 

Bemboka Pie Shop owner Angela Canby said while the landslide only happened less than a week ago, it has already had an effect on her business with the number of customers coming through her doors already slowing down.

She was reading the Canberra Drivers Facebook page where posts about the Brown Mountain landslide have received thousands of shares, hundreds of "likes" and people are being advised to avoid the mountain altogether when driving to the Far South Coast.

"They are being advised to drive down Mount Darragh Road or Clyde Mountain, even though that will add almost two hours to their trip," Ms Canby said.  

She hates to imagine what the impact would be on Bemboka's businesses if the highway is closed again, because her pie shop is still recovering from the financial hit it took in 2012. 

"If the road is closed there is no passing traffic," Ms Canby said.

"It's such a shame, it was looking like a good year."

Bemboka Lions Club president Andrew Judge said the club has had a loss of revenue since the landslide with fewer campers staying at Colombo Park as cars towing caravans did not want to risk coming down the mountain with one lane closed.

He said during the 2012 incident there were no campers at all and said the general sentiment in town was the road would have to be closed for repairs this year. 

The Bega District News