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RFS to have major say on Lizard Rock

Ultimate decision rests with planning minister

The future of the controversial Lizard Rock housing development proposal may rest on a negative assessment by the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS).

On June 29, Wakehurst MP Michael Regan lodged a petition with 12,000 signatories in the NSW Parliament opposed to the development, which would re-zone the rural area on Morgan Road, Belrose as low-density residential.

Over 120 local residents packed the gallery to hear Mr Regan’s speech presenting the petition to Parliament. Mr Regan is the former mayor of Northern Beaches Council which opposes the development, with the land already categorised as ‘bushfire prone’. “We have to stop building homes where we know we will expose lives to danger, and where we will put the lives of RFS and SES volunteers in danger protecting them,” Mr Regan told Parliament.

In a show of unity, the local MPs of the surrounding area – Liberals Matt Cross for Davidson, James Griffin for Manly and Rory Amon for Pittwater – also spoke against the rezoning.

In his response to the petition, Planning Minister Paul Scully – who will have the ultimate say in whether the land is rezoned to make way for 450 homes – said that ‘any objections from the NSW Rural Fire Service would mean that the proposal will not progress’.

In the rezoning application, independent fire assessor Travers Bushfire and Ecology said the fire risk could be mitigated by 100m ‘Asset Protection Zones’.

The group proposing the project is the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC), which has until September 9 to incorporate several conditions into the development. These include how the MLALC will achieve an ‘effective’ cap of 450 homes and how 10 per cent of the dwellings will be made into affordable housing. Another condition is that Northern Beaches Council develops a ‘site-specific Development Control Plan’ with the department before a public exhibition of the proposal.

Mr Scully made clear in Parliament that while there may be ‘other arrangements’ which could be made with the MLALC, ‘it should not come at a cost to government that it cannot meet in the current fiscal environment’.

An RFS spokesperson said that nothing had been provided as yet to the authority.

Source:  Peninsula Living

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