Mandurah's environment and new residential developments would be significantly impacted by the recent changes on building guidelines in bushfire prone areas by the State Government, a report by the local planning committee said.
The changes on the regulations, effective since April 8, identified and listed bushfire prone areas in WA and set new requirements for housing construction to minimise the impact of fires.
Extensive areas within the City of Mandurah including foreshores to the coast and estuaries, naturally vegetated parks in urban area and reserves were classified in the mapping as bushfire prone areas.
Developers who plan to develop properties within those areas are currently required to undertake a Bushfire Attack Level assessment (BAL), that can cost between $5,000 and over $100,000, to be able to obtain a building permit.
City of Mandurah councilor Fred Riebeling said the new rules by the State Government were ridiculous and an overreaction, and he said actual risk of getting serious bushfires in the Mandurah area was slim.
“Proportional risk to actual risk is ridiculous,” he said
“Saying that the Mandurah suburbia is subject to bushfire risk is ridiculous.
“I really hope the government will loosen up.”
The report by the City of Mandurah planning committee also showed the City’s concern that having to pay for the BAL assessments would encourage developers to clear more land and save on cost.
The new regulations list bushfire prone areas as any parcel with more than one hectare of flammable vegetation and all land within 100 metres of that parcel.
Therefore, by clearing the vegetation around the block the developers may pay less for a BAL assessment.
The City says there has been an increase in developers applying for vegetation clearing permits since the new regulations were put in place on April.
Developers in areas in Erskine, Halls Head, Coodanup, Greenfields, Madora Bay north, the norther portion of Lakelands and all the developments south of the Dawesville channel are likely to be affected by the changes.
Mr Riebeling said the City will start an advertising and political campaign against the changes and hoped the council would exert some pressure on the government to modify the guidelines.
“There’s going to be an advertising campaign and a political campaign to stop this from becoming a ridiculous situation,” he said.
“Those should be sensible rules instead of ridiculous rules.”