Australia — A YARRA Ranges councillor says Dandenongs residents should build their own fire refuges.
Cr Len Cox made the comment amid impassioned and often confusing discussions over a planning application at a Mt Dandenong site under severe threat of bushfires.
Cr Coxs bid to have a refuge included as part of the application was rejected.
Michael Hill and Judith Elliot won approval to build a house and install two 22,500 litre water tanks on their property in Osprey Rd.
Council staff had recommended the application be refused on the grounds that the threat to life and property from bushfires was significant and could not be reduced by vegetation management or building design.
Mr Hill, who has lived in the hills for most of his life, said he and his partner had endured considerable stress over the application process, which began in April last year.
We believe, like many Australians, that we have the right to build our dream property on our own land, Mr Hill said.
The house design incorporated elements to make it more bushfire-resistant including brick, double glazing and water tanks, Mr Hill said.
Cr Noel Cliff said it would be unfair to refuse the couple.
What are they going to do with the land if we knock their application back? Cr Cliff said.
Are they going to have $200,000 picnic ground?
Cr Cliff said the proposed house would be bomb proof and far safer than many others.
As reported in the Leader (December 21, 2011), Yarra Ranges Council approved a planning application for a Scenic Crescent property, despite a council staff recommendation it be refused due to significant fire risk.