A DEVELOPER has government backing to clear a small section of dunes in Scarborough after revising earlier plans.
The plan was met with backlash from local residents and conservation groups who wanted the area untouched, particularly as it was part of a 3.3ha site being amalgamated into the South Trigg Class A Reserve, which has since been approved by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH).
Norup + Wilson director Dave Wilson said it worked with the City of Stirling, Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority and Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), and met relevant community groups to create a plan to meet firebreak and emergency access requirements.
“The current proposal has…the least possible impact to the surrounding area”
It will install a 1.8m high glass screen along its boundary, build a 3m-wide limestone firebreak and track next to its site, and remove identified weeds and replant 1300 indigenous plants in the adjacent dunes.
“The current proposal has, in the opinion of the various authorities, the least possible impact to the surrounding area,” he said.
“The goal was always to have the least possible amount of impact to the adjacent reserve while still adhering to the legislated requirements.”
But Friends of Trigg Beach spokeswoman Robyn Murphy said the site was public land and an “integral part of the coastal reserve”.
“We will be writing to the Environment Minister with our objections to this action on a number of grounds, not least of which is the City’s actions in ignoring the advice of local conservation groups including the Friends of Trigg Beach, the Friends of Trigg Bushland and the Urban Bushland Council,” she said.
“We have a right to know why the City is working so closely with the developer to encroach into the reserve over which it has responsibility as land manager to protect.
“(The City is) ignoring the advice of local conservation groups”
“The fact that the developer is spending its own money on these works is no justification for ignoring the high level of protection that is afforded by its Class A Reserve status.”
Stirling says reserve is priority
City infrastructure director Michael Littleton said the reserve was its priority and approved the plans after extensive discussions with the developer, staff and State Government departments.
“As the land manager for the Bush Forever reservation, the City has determined that the proposal is acceptable as it will protect and preserve conservation habitat values as well as ensure safe and controlled pedestrian access to nearby beach attractions,” he said.
“By working together with the developer a solution has been secured that will provide a public benefit – pedestrian access – and improve conservation values to the A Class reserve at no expense to the State or the City.”
DFES rural fire division land use planning director Ron de Blank said they encouraged all property owners to take action to reduce their bushfire risk.
He said agreements between private land owners and the Crown to provide firebreaks did occur but it was “generally uncommon”.