Neighbourhood Safer Place sites for Beech Forest and Barwon Downs
November 27, 2018
Colac Otway Shire Council has identified suitable sites for Neighbourhood Safer Places in two high-risk bushfire communities, with work to start soon to complete compliance requirements.
Colac Otway Mayor Jason Schram said there was a significant amount of work to do before the NSPs at Beech Forest and Barwon Downs could be formally designated.
“But reaching the point where we have sites that could meet the mandatory CFA radiant heat requirements is a huge step towards creating places of last resort if people were caught in a bushfire.
“The safest option to protect you and your family is to be prepared and leave early before you are under any threat,” Cr Schram said.
“But Council is pleased to have identified that the Barwon Downs Community Hub and the Barwon Downs Common can become an endorsed NSP after we complete a range of minor works.
“Council has also identified a block in Beech Forest’s Main Street which forms part of the Old Beechy Rail siding and is managed by Council that, with DELWP approved work, can also meet NSP requirements.
“When the work is complete the Municipal Fire and Emergency Management Planning Committees can recommend these to Colac Otway Shire Council for endorsement as NSPs,” he said.
“These works are required to increase the potential survivability beyond the minimal radiant heat requirements such as issues relating to convective heat issues and potential ember attack.”
Work at Barwon Downs includes lopping, removing and removing trees along the Birregurra-Forrest Road reserve and around the site boundary will have to be lopped, trimmed or removed, which DELWP has approved, and replacing a fence.
Work at Beech Forest includes creating a gravel pad, installing a 2.4-metre fence to separate it from the neighbouring hotel building, removal of old posts, trimming trees and building up an existing earth wall.
“Council will complete these works as soon as possible to provide places of last resort in a bushfire but remember, leaving early is the safest option,” Cr Schram said.
More information about what a Bushfire Place of Last Resort is can be found at cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/neighbourhood-safer-places.