Fired up on ad­di­tions

Stirling Times - - News -

THE re­cent Bun­nings blaze in In­gle­wood am­pli­fied con­cerns about fire risk for pro­posed ad­di­tions to the hard­ware chain’s Bal­catta store.

Bun­nings sought ap­proval from the Metro North-West Devel­op­ment Assess­ment Panel for var­i­ous changes, in­clud­ing ex­tend­ing its tim­ber trade sales area and en­clos­ing the build­ing ma­te­ri­als and land­scape yard.

A re­port by the City of Stir­ling pre­sented at the March 7 panel meet­ing rec­om­mended ap­prov­ing plans for changes to the gar­den cen­tre, hard­ware show­room, park­ing, land­scap­ing and sig­nage but re­fus­ing the tim­ber trade and build­ing ma­te­ri­als yard ad­di­tions be­cause of bush­fire risk.

The re­port said the site was in a bush­fire­prone area and the bush­fire man­age­ment plan and bush­fire emer­gency evac­u­a­tion plan sub­mit­ted by the ap­pli­cant “failed to ad­e­quately con­vey an al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tion to demon­strate com­pli­ance” and had many in­con­sis­ten­cies.

It said there was not suf­fi­cient jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the lo­ca­tion of the struc­tures, so ap­prov­ing the ex­ten­sion would rep­re­sent a “high to ex­treme risk”.

Burgess De­sign Group as­so­ciate direc­tor Mark Sz­abo pre­sented on be­half of the owner and said the changes would in­crease safety be­cause the open tim­ber sales area would be­come en­closed and de­scribed the fire-risk area as “small bush” in a road re­serve.

Bush­fire be­hav­iour an­a­lyst Mike Scott, of Bush­fire Prone Plan­ning, also spoke on be­half of Bun­nings and told the panel there were “min­i­mal” fa­tal­i­ties from build­ing fires in the past 100 years and the non-com­bustible ma­te­ri­als used in the pro­posed struc­ture would re­duce the risk of a build­ing fire.

Stir­ling coun­cil­lor David Booth­man noted the “sig­nif­i­cant fire” at Bun­nings in In­gle­wood on Fe­bru­ary 26 and the large bush­land on Reid High­way near to the Bal­catta store.

“We’re not look­ing at just the dan­ger of bush­fire to the build­ing but of the build­ing to bush­fire,” he said.

Cr Bianca San­dri moved the re­port rec­om­men­da­tion be­cause she be­lieved there was “too much of a risk to ap­prove” the pro­posal in the high-risk bush­fire area but spe­cial­ist mem­ber John Syme suc­cess­fully moved the ap­pli­ca­tion be de­ferred for three months so the ap­pli­cant could pro­vide more in­for­ma­tion about the bush­fire con­di­tions.

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