Ewan Willis, Main Arm
It is an amazing thing to see the process of Council in action. Like most people who attend a planning meeting I had an outcome that I was seeking. I was asking Council not to approve a development in a high fire danger area that is served with a long, dead-ended, steep, narrow, forested access route that fails to meet bushfire regulations on almost a dozen points.
These grounds have not been adequately accounted for in the planning process. In the words of Cr Cameron, ‘I don’t believe that the assessment has been good enough. I’m not satisfied in terms of the legislation. I cannot be satisfied while this approach is being taken by the RFS’.
What was amazing to me is that Cr Ndiaye and others choose not to see the danger to residents, and the local RFS volunteers, as problematic. Cr Ndiaye, who supported the development, took pains to identify that she felt that it was the personalities involved, rather than planning grounds, or public safety, that had allowed objectors to make headway. We fought hard to highlight process failures in the bushfire approval process but Crs Richardson, Ndiaye, Spooner and Hunter preferred to focus on the legal technicalities of Council’s culpability, rather than the safety issues that were at the heart of our objections.
In the two weeks since the planning meeting there has already been a three day bushfire on the very same access route – thank God it’s winter. As we head toward another fire season, the rain that we’ve had is leaving us, and the ground is already hard and crunchy.