Oz fire mapping

Council defiant on fire mapping

11June 2008

Publishedby the www.villagevoice.com.au

North Sydney Council will keep pushing for changes to “ludicrous” new bushfire mapping, which the council fears could devalue homes.

After more than a year of negotiations with the Rural Fire Service (RFS), Cr Trent Zimmerman said the council would continue to push the RFS to rethink the classification of houses around strip bushland areas, but would probably not support any legal action against the decision.

“I think some of the strips of bushland are so narrow that it’s hard to conceive how there is risk of a bushfire,” he said.

“Including strips of bushland along the harbourfront is ludicrous. The approach of the RFS seemed excessive in these areas.”

Properties with a bushfire prone-classification have to adhere to stricter development conditions.

Cr Craig Carland said the bushfire prone classifications could devalue properties by 10 per cent, or up to $200,000.

Since it is part of the Manly-Mosman-North Sydney Bushfire Committee, the council is required to have bush fire prone areas mapped.

Cr Zimmerman recently requested advice from council on withdrawing from the committee to prevent 229 houses in the area being classified as bushfire prone

In response to Cr Zimmerman’s question, council general manager Penny Holloway last week said the RFS did not recommend pulling out of the joint committee as it could expose the council to potential liability.

RFS Assistant Commissioner Rob Rogers refuted assertions that the mapping would affect the value of properties but said the RFS would have another look at the areas of concern for the council.

“We will examine those areas in more details and examine the possibility of how they carry fire and whether that would necessitate them being classified as bushfire prone,” he said.

Mr Rogers said the RFS had “fruitful” meetings with the council on the issue and looked forward to solving the problems.

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