SHIRE of Mundaring’s planning and environment teams were rewarded at the annual Planning Institute of Australia excellence awards.
The Shire’s approach to implementing bushfire and biodiversity controls received the overall award, the Planning Minister’s Award. The project also won the improving planning processes category.
Chief executive Jonathan Throssell said striking the right balance between bushfire mitigation and biodiversity protection was a community expectation.
“The Planning and Environment teams collaborated with key stakeholders and developed a suite of implementation tools and services which encourages early consideration of bushfire risk and environmental factors in the design process,” Mr Throssell said.
Described as an innovation that enhances development and land management outcomes in Mundaring, the Shire’s approach is also a model that could be adopted by other local government agencies.
Implementing the controls early in the design process had generated several benefits. Planning approvals had been streamlined and there had been a reduction in costs for landowners and delays associated with revising plans and relocating dwellings.
“We’ve been able to better manage landowners’ expectations upfront and remind them of their role as custodians of important environmental assets,” Mr Throssell said. “It’s had a positive flow-on effect for everyone.”