Over recent years, particularly since Black Saturday, there has been increased awareness around the fire risk on the Mornington Peninsula. Parks Vic and DELWP acknowledge that Arthurs Seat is probably the highest risk area in terms of a fast spreading fire threatening residential property.
This was discussed at a Mornington Peninsula Shire meeting on the 27th January 2016, where senior CFA representative Arthur Haynes described this risk in some detail, during debate on the Arthurs Seat Skylift fire plan – (as per YouTube audio link above – approx. 8 minutes in total) Local brigades and emergency services are well drilled in how to deal with this risk however there is increasing concern from residents on the Southern Peninsula as well.
These concerns are driven by a number of factors:
- Large amount of fuel loads on
- Council owned land
- Parks Vic land (Mornington Peninsula National Park)
- Vacant land
- Land with non permanent residents
DELWP have recently done some fire modelling which show that the real risk of a catastrophic bushfire in the Rye/Blairgowrie/Sorrento area is relatively low, there is still a need for some consideration to fire breaks and access tracks for emergency vehicles.
This then highlights the main concern, which is the complete state of gridlock our roads face in the summer period, the time when the fire risk is at its greatest. Mr Haynes, in the attached recording (in the last minute) also points to this issue and it is on this basis that I would like to see a more collaborative approach to the completion of works outlined in the 2013 Pt Nepean Road Study. Those works were in order of priority:
- Alteration to the Truemans Rd intersection
- Construction of the Jetty Rd overpass to connect the freeway to the existing arterial road extension
- Completion of the arterial road extension from Boneo Road to Melbourne within the existing (or revised) VicRoads road reserve
I am currently seeking advice from the Government on the progress of planning for the Jetty Road overpass as this is widely recognised, in particular by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, as the most urgent road infrastructure project on the Southern Peninsula.
Overall, we need to see these projects as first and foremost a public safety issue and I will continue to work with all interested stakeholders and relevant authorities, including the Minister, to ensure these projects receive the attention and funding they deserve.