Councillors want Fingal firebreaks 

PORT Stephens councillors have appealed to the state government to create firebreaks around homes at Fingal Bay to try to prevent a future bushfire disaster.

At a council meeting on Tuesday night, councillors expressed their concern for houses on Rocky Point Road, Fingal Bay, that back on to Tomaree National Park.

Cr Steve Tucker said the NSW Rural Fire Service had recognised the street as high risk, and the damage at Coonabarabran earlier this year had further highlighted the need for fire protection.

Cr Paul Le Mottee moved a motion that the council write to the state government requesting an asset-protection zone be provided along the back of properties at Rocky Point Road.

‘‘There is an estimated 110 houses that back on to bushland on Rocky Point Road and we have been told there is an extreme bushfire danger there,’’ Cr Le Mottee said.

‘‘If there was a major fire and loss to property – or in fact lives – the consequence to council would be so great,’’ he said.

A spokesman for the Rural Fire Service said the area did fall within bushfire-prone land, but he believed an asset-protection zone already existed.

However Cr Le Mottee said bushland came up to the back fences of houses along that road.

The council will give the state government three months to undertake the work, which is on government-owned land, before they implement the firebreaks.

The council will speak with residents before any work is undertaken.

Councillor Geoff Dingle opposed the motion on Tuesday night, saying many residents liked bush close to their homes and the clearing would create other problems for the council.

‘‘There are similar houses and developments across Port Stephens,’’ he said.

Waiting for the state government would further delay development applications for landowners, he said.

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