HEPBURN Shire Council will rethink its opposition to a new Hepburn Springs fire station as the bushfire-prone town braces for another long hot summer.
The CFA is appealing to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal after its planning application to build a new shed opposite the Hepburn Springs Primary School was knocked back by the council in June.
But Hepburn Shire mayor Bill McClenaghan said the council had been consulting with the community and may choose to withdraw its objection.
“It looks like it may go (to VCAT) now without council opposing it,” Cr McClenaghan said.
Councillors would consider the matter at their next delegated planning committee meeting on November 2, he said.
The council received a petition by 302 residents on Tuesday supporting and urging the CFA to build the station.
Hepburn Springs has a 40-year-old CFA shed with no room for a new truck even after it was named in the Bushfire Royal Commission as one of the worst locations in the state for fire danger.
In June, Hepburn Rural Fire Brigade captain Barry Yanner said he was disgusted with the council’s lack of support.
He said the CFA would give them a new state-of-the-art fire truck, but it was too big for their current tin shed.
Cr McClenaghan said the CFA had since addressed issues at the proposed site, which was in a school zone and on an elevated block sloping into a large permaculture establishment.
“They’ve redesigned the layout ... they’re offering to put in additional parking so there will be no car parking in the narrow Fourteenth Street,” Cr McClenaghan said.
He said Hepburn Springs Primary School had also withdrawn its objection to the proposal, but there were still a number of objectors likely to fight it all the way.
VCAT is due to consider the matter on November 27.