Fire and flood preparedness permit available for absentee landowners
As a first point of call Council is encouraging non-resident landowners to use local contractors to undertake mowing, slashing and property clean ups wherever possible and a list of people can be found on the Strathbogie Shire website.
Melbourne residents who own property within the Shire and have received a letter requesting them to attend to their property to reduce fire risk following an inspection recently undertaken by Council, or their property is located within a Bushfire Management Overlay, can apply for a permit to travel to undertake fire-preparedness actions.
This may include mowing or slashing grass, clearing fallen branches and overgrown weeds, or general property maintenance. However, the permits come with strict conditions, including a 72-hour time-limit and a requirement to declare a return-date.
During the travel period, Melbourne property-owners need to abide by metropolitan lockdown restrictions, which include no visiting friends or local cafés.
Strathbogie Shire Chief Executive Officer, Julie Salomon, said the permits are not an opportunity to escape the Melbourne lockdown and enjoy a long weekend.
“While we encourage efforts to reduce bushfire risks, and respect landowners’ rights to protect their assets, we need to ensure we maintain a COVID-safe environment,” Ms Salomon said.
“We are grateful to our community who have been so compliant, and we expect those
travelling here to do the same.”
In response to the Victorian Government announcement that paved the way for the permits, the Shire has created an online form, available on the Shire’s website, through which applications can be submitted.
Applicants need to provide details about the type of work to be carried out and outline the time-period. Council officers will then assess the form and aim to respond within five working days.
“While we all know how important it is to keep our region COVID-safe, we also need to prepare for the forecast high-risk fire season,” Ms Salomon said.
“The La Nina weather pattern means higher-than-usual spring and summer rains, which increases grass growth and fuel-loads, and presents a very real bushfire risk for our communities.”
We will help people prepare their properties for flooding should a significant rain event be forecast. Our Flood Plan helps identify properties that may be affected quickly.
For anyone finding it difficult to undertake fire or flood preparedness action, the Shire encourages seeking out local contractors or the assistance of neighbours, family or friends.