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Protestors on the steps of Parliament House.

Fire adds fuel to flames of hills planning debate

By Claire Ottaviano

PROTESTORS calling for a halt on all major subdivision planning in extreme bushfire zones had their voices heard at Parliament this week.

On Tuesday, about 20 Perth Hills residents gathered on the steps of Parliament House to present a 3200-signature petition for a moratorium on large-scale development in bushfire prone areas and for a review of WA’s bushfire prone regions as part of the Government’s Wooroloo Bushfire inquiry.

Save Perth Hills (SPH) secretary Peter Brazier presented the petition to East Metropolitan MLC Matt Swinbourn.

Mr Swinbourn tabled it in the Legislative Council that afternoon.

The call comes six days after another unresolved mediation hearing between land developer Satterley and the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) on the refused 1410-lot North Stoneville Structure Plan (SP34)

The proposed 4000-resident development was rejected by the WAPC in July 2020 because it failed to comply with State planning policies for planning in bushfire prone areas.

Satterley and landowner the Anglican Church appealed the decision which will now push on to a sixth hearing on August 12.

SAT mediations are closed to the public.

The devastating Wooroloo bushfire on February 1, which destroyed 86 homes, has added further fuel to the flames of residents’ outrage at the proposal.

The northern edge of the 555ha North Stoneville townsite came within 7km of the inferno as it burned west from Wooroloo through Gidgegannup, causing the mass evacuation of The Vines, Ellenbrook and Shady Hills for a week-long period.

It created one of the largest natural disaster responses in WA, pulling in additional aerial firefighting resources from interstate.

At the most recent June 9 SAT mediation hearing community action group SPH delivered a deputation outlining why the townsite would be undefendable in a bushfire such as Wooroloo.

“SPH informed the hearing that bushfire should not, and cannot, be mediated and called for the plan to be sent to a full and transparent public inquiry,” SPH chairman Jeremy Hurst said.

“Thousands of West Australians are telling our leaders, decision makers – and developers, via this petition, via our rallies, via the increasing evidence and via the trauma bushfires bring, that planning in Perth’s Hills must aim to safeguard, not endanger, our bushfire prone communities.”

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Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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