Tag Archives: Black-Saturday-bushfires

Eltham Gateway Deathtrap – important bushfire information.

I don’t think it will surprise any of you to know I’m paranoid about bushfire. What you may not know is that even I can be surprised. In a bad way.

The link below will take you to a very well thought out, well researched document about the extreme bushfire danger threatening not just the Warrandyte area, but also the far more built up suburbs to the west and north of Warrandyte. I’m talking Eltham, Research, Diamond Creek etc.

http://www.elthamsdeathtrap.com/

The reason these areas are in such danger was illustrated not long ago when an out of control grass fire threatened new housing estates in Epping, a northern suburb of Melbourne.  Epping and surrounding areas are poorly serviced by through roads. When the bushfire alerts went out, the roads leading away from the path of the fire became gridlocked. Not only could residents not evacuate safely, the fire services were having trouble getting to the fire. It was a disaster waiting to happen.

In my area, the danger is complicated by the fact that the Yarra River literally cuts us off from the suburbs to the south, and there are just two narrow bridges crossing the river. One bridge chokes the north-south exit from Eltham,  while the other is 13 kms to the east at Warrandyte. My bridge chokes the east-west exit.

As I live in Warrandyte, I have known about the danger posed by that east-west bridge for years, but it was not until I read the Eltham Gateway document that I realised we were pincered between two bridges and the river. Have a close look at the CFA map if you don’t believe me.

The worst fires always come from the northwest. That means people have to evacuate to the south. But the river is in the way. Can you imagine the chaos, and loss of life, if a bushfire like Black Saturday forced us to flee across either of those bridges?

I can, and the image of mangled, burnt out cars lining the roads to these bridges scares me to death.

Even if you think you know all about the possible dangers, please, PLEASE read this document. It is quite long but worth reading, especially for those who plan to evacuate in case of danger. Leaving at the last minute may not be possible, and even leaving early-ish may be more dangerous than you know.

Stay safe

Meeks

 

 


Warrandyte – proposed rezoning lunacy

I have just learned that the state government is proposing to rezone Warrandyte to allow more people to move into this bushfire prone area – without providing any safeguards against the horror that killed 173 men, women and children on Black Saturday.

As a resident of Warrandyte I call this criminal.

Warrandyte is not a nice, safe, inner city suburb where house fires are either accidental or the result of arson. Warrandyte is a fringe suburb that burns. Regularly.  Major burns occurred in :

1851 – February 6 “Black Thursday”
1939 – January 13 “Black Friday”
1962 – January 14–16

Warrandyte also experienced less destructive bushfires in 1965 and 1969. All the old-timers say we are well and truly overdue for another. So what has changed to make Warrandyte a less fire prone area? Nothing. Not a single damned thing. If anything the danger has become more extreme because of the ideological madness of successive governments and local councils doing even less to reduce fuel loads in the area. If you are interested please see previous posts on bushfire preparedness here and here.

To be brutally honest I don’t give a flying fruitbat for the preservation of the Green Wedge in its present form. I am not interested in ideology. I am not interested in preserving anything in a bubble. Change is inevitable and we are not going to preserve our native flora and fauna by trying to turn back the clock to a time before white settlement. Nonetheless on the issue of rezoning I am siding with the conservationists but for very different reasons. I truly believe that increasing population density in Warrandyte is a recipe for disaster… for people.

Whatever your thoughts on conservation I ask that you go to the website below by following this link or by cutting and pasting the url into the address bar of your browser. Once you get there please sign up to make your views heard.

http://www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/theplanningsystem/improving-the-system/new-zones-for-victoria

This forum is our only chance to tell the government exactly what we think without having to go through committees or MPs or other representatives. If enough of us raise our voices then maybe, just maybe someone will listen.


Open letter to Nillumbik Shire Council

To the Shire Councillors, past and present, who allowed so many men, women and children in our shire to die on Black Saturday I say ‘who do you think you’re kidding?’

I just took a look at the budget allocations you have made and they would be quite funny if 173 people had not died during the Black Saturday bushfires. You did not take the fire risk seriously before Black Saturday and it is obvious that you are still not taking the risk seriously.

Let’s have a look at those budget allocations shall we?

The highest rating shire in the state of Victoria has allocated :

$500,000 to the upgrade of AE Cracknell Reserve [park] in Panton Hill. Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

$300,000 for further development at Edendale.   Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

$290,000 for the Hurstbridge Skate park.   Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

$320,000 for new toilets at Elthan Lower Park.   Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

$105,000 to seal some carparks at ovals [sporting grounds] in Hurstbridge and Diamond Creek.   Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

$150,000 for renewal works at Alistair Knox Park playground.   Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

$1.15 million for roadworks. Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

$445,000 for improvements to leisure centres and community halls.   Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

$280,000 for road sealing.   Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

$200,000 for new footpaths.   Contrast this with just $650,000 for fire prevention.

So, out of a total budget allocation of $4,390,000 you have allocated just $650,000 to the saving of lives?

Why is it that everything else has more importance in your eyes? Do you really think the scrub has stopped growing in the years since Black Saturday? Do you really think it is going to stay green forever more?

I live here and I know that most of the shire is groaning under the fuel load you refuse to acknowledge, especially areas like North Warrandyte that did not burn last time.  We are all living in another tragedy that is just waiting to happen.

Did the Royal Commission into those 173 deaths have no impact on you at all? Does the fact that North Warrandyte, one of the most fire prone areas in the shire, has not one  ‘safe place’ mean nothing to you?  This whole shire is getting set up as one gigantic bbq, yet instead of using this grace period to make the shire safer you are building skate parks and prettying up leisure centres. What kind of priorities are these?

This Council does not look after a nice, cosy, safe inner Melbourne suburb where councils can afford to spend their money on ‘nice-to-haves’. Nillumbik shire is on the edge and we will burn again. Stop pretending that the problem has gone away for good. There are over 60,000 people living in Nillumbik and a huge proportion of that population is living in fire-prone areas. How many more of us can you afford to lose to the horrors of bushfire?

If Nillumbik Council’s budget is anything to judge by then clearly most of us are expendable.

Nillumbik Shire Council was not brought to account for the deaths that occurred during Black Saturday but I swear that if I survive the next one I will not rest until I bankrupt this pathetic excuse for a local government. Shame, Nillumbik, shame.

Yours most sincerely.

 


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