Lake Leschenaultia closure guidelines

The Shire of Mundaring says it needed have the ability to base decisions on fire danger ratings on specific local conditions.
January 11, 2024

SHIRE of Mundaring has decided to adopt a more flexible approach to guide the closure of Lake Leschenaultia.

At its December council meeting, council decided that while closure of the lake was important during days of extreme and catastrophic fire danger rating days for public safety, flexibility needed to be provided to ensure that local conditions warranted such a closure.

Shire President Paige McNeil said that while it was absolutely imperative to keep the community safe, it had become apparent that at times the Bureau of Meteorology and Department of Fire and Emergency Services rating of extreme or catastrophic did not reflect local conditions.

“We have provided our chief executive officer, supported by shire officers, authority to make a determination to leave the lake open to the public in the event it is considered local weather conditions do not reflect extreme or catastrophic conditions,” she said.

“Council did not make this decision lightly as we are very aware of the bushfire risk to our community and visitors to the lake.

However, we listened to our community and in this instance we feel we need to be flexible and have the ability to base decisions on specific local conditions, not more general regional condition ratings.”

In addition to the more flexible approach being taken by the shire, more work is being done on alternative mitigation actions which could eliminate the need to close the lake in the future.

Of particular concern to the shire is the one way access, in and out of the lake.

This remains a primary concern which is driving the closure in certain weather conditions.

Ms McNeil said that the shire had been requested to undertake an independent risk assessment of the lake.

“The assessment is aimed at identifying potential mitigation actions including the number of access points to reduce the risks to users and the community, in the event of a fire, to a level which could see the shire comfortably leave the lake open in all weather conditions.

“Importantly we know that we can never completely eliminate the risks to users of the lake in the event of the fire,” she said.

“What we can do is develop strategies to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

At the moment that means closing the lake in certain weather conditions however we are hopeful that other mitigation actions, such as secondary access, will allow us to keep the lake open.”

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