Letter to the editor | Public money wasted on fire trail, without warning

Public money wasted on fire trail, without warning

The Majors Creek Gully Fire Trail project has been very badly handled.

The first we heard about it was when we returned to our house in Seymour Street after a few days away.

The quiet glade at the bottom of our garden was replaced by an ugly road.

Our back fence was torn out and dumped in the water .

We had no warning of any kind: no letter to the landowner, no knock on the door, no postcard in the letterbox. Nothing.

Any talk about ‘extensive public consultation’ 18 months ago is irrelevant to us. We didn’t own the place then.

Nor did they warn our neighbours, though all of us have children, dogs and pets on site.

I requested a meeting with the site manager, who was kind enough to apologise for the atrocious lack of public relations.

That doesn’t mitigate the sheer absurdity of the project.

It is essentially a track laid on the edge of a swamp, a foot above low water level.

It will only allow access by CAT 7 trucks, which carry less than a ton of water for firefighting.

Did no one notice that a few metres from the track is a gully containing tens of thousands of tons of water?

Had anyone bothered to engage us, we would have been pleased to point out how easy it would be for an excavator to scoop out the flammable reeds and create a huge open water firebreak.

Spoil would make fox proof islands for tortoises and birds to nest safely. Price about $18,000, or one-tenth of the public money wasted on the track.

A bit more money would have seen a remote electric start diesel pump drawing water from the deepened pools.

Trenched mainlines running from the bridge to the pub and metal standpipes topped with sprinklers would put a massive drenching down on the whole hazard zone.

Not to mention eliminating the risk of a fire crew being caught between a western wind driven reed fire and a steep bank.

Yes, tax payers and rate payers, one quarter of the money spent would have fire proofed the village, eliminated the hazard, created wildlife habitat and left you feeling respected, not treated with contempt.

The inhabitants of Seymour Street deserve an apology and a Colorbond fence, not a press release full of weasel words.

Peter A. Marshall and family, ‘Conarn’, Majors Creek