RESIDENTS could be slugged $5000 extra in new home construction costs due to Ballarat’s expanded Bushfire Management Overlay.
Nearly 2000 Ballarat homes will also be affected by the Department of Planning and Community Development changes, with Ballarat City Councillor Craig Fletcher calling for state government consultation with the landowners.
The DPCD’s recent overlay review has caused bushfire risk areas to be extended by around 50 to 100 metres.
Houses in Bald Hills, Black Hill, Brown Hill, Ballarat East, Buninyong, Mt Clear, Mt Helen, Ross Creek, Durham Lead and Scotsburn will be affected, as well as properties abutting the Creswick and Canadian state forests.
However, other homes in Bald Hills, north of Learmonth, south of Mt Clear and abutting the Creswick State Forest will be removed from the BMO.
Ballarat City Council will also request Flaxmill Swamp, White Flat Oval and parts of Victoria Park be taken out of the document.
While maps of the new BMO are available to council officers, they will not be made public at this stage.
Speaking at Wednesday night’s Ballarat City Council meeting, both Cr Fletcher and growth and development director Eric Braslis predicted the changes could add $5000 to the cost of constructing a home.
Cr Fletcher said he was also concerned about the DPCD’s mapping accuracy, requesting Planning Minister Matthew Guy undertake consultation with affected landowners.
“We need to fully explore what these implications are,” Cr Fletcher said.
“It concerns me that without proper consultation, almost 2000 properties ... may not be fully aware of these changes.”
Cr John Philips also said consultation with the 1972 affected landowners was vital.
“If we don’t do this appropriately and properly and fully engaging the community, we could be leaving them behind,” Cr Philips said.
The BMO was introduced in November 2011 after the Black Saturday bushfires and covers areas of high to extreme fuel loads
Sixty five councils across Victoria will be affected by overlay changes but no public consultation will be held under section 20 (4) of the Planning and Environment Act.
However, any aggrieved landowners can ask for review by the BMO Standing Advisory Committee.