Australia — A MOVE to include an extra 17,000 properties in Healesville and Yarra Glen under the Bushfire Management Overlay has been labelled “frightening” by a local councillor.
Yarra Ranges Council has been informed that the state Department of Planning, Transport and Local Infrastructure will be sending letters to 17,000 landowners this month to inform them they are now part of an overlay that has already caused widespread heartache for many residents.
As reported in Leader last week, Cr Fiona McAllister said BMO legislation would kill rural communities unless the planning scheme was changed.
Cr McAllister said the news that more properties would be included in the BMO was “pretty frightening” and said the council would write to every politician in Victoria lobbying for changes.
She said it would affect not only vacant blocks but also urban areas, and people trying to renovate or rebuild their exisiting houses.
“We’re not talking about a minor inconvenience this is going to have such significant repercussions if we don’t get it dealt with,” Cr McAllister said.
She urged everyone who received a letter to let the State Government know of their concerns.
“As a community we’re going to have to have a large voice,” Cr McAllister said.
“If everyone sits back and accepts this as bureaucratic red tape nothing is going to change.”
“The social impact, personal impact and economic impact is going to be devastating.”
Chum Creek resident Michael Saul is one of many victims of the BMO, unable to build on his Warringah Drive land because of the tough planning restrictions.
Mr Saul said his application was complicated when the bushfire management overlay was introduced in November 2011.
“It’s unacceptable to turn properties in the area from being worth more than $200,000 to 20 cents,”Mr Saul said.
Evelyn state Liberal MP Christine Fyffe asked Planning Minister Matthew Guy to review the BMO in Parliament last week.