Jack's fire fear

Eden resident Jack Dickenson and his neighbours are worried.

Mr Dickenson has been observing uncontrolled vegetation growth next door to his Twofold Court residence for many years and has real concerns about a fire hazard risk it poses to not only other residents in this zone but also potentially the town’s CBD.

The land in question is part of the former cannery site which is now privately owned by an overseas investor. 

With the bush fire season not far away Mr Dickenson and his neighbours are concerned the overgrown bush could ignite like a bon fire.

“On the right day, all it needs is a spark and it’ll go up,” he said.

The area is bounded by Cattle Bay Road, Fishermans Court, Flinders Street and Twofold Court, which is a densely built up residential zone almost in the centre of town.

“When the cannery closed in 1999, nothing was done to the land.

“Heinz put a dozer through it about 20 years ago now, but nothing has happened since.

“Bush fires here generally come from the north west so it is right in the path of a fire front.”

Mr Dickenson said in the past, he has been so concerned about the potential fire risk he has not left his house on very hot days.

Last Friday he met with other concerned neighbours to discuss the situation.

“We have to protect the safety and security of people’s properties,” he said.

“The RFS has the authority to clean it up, and I have written letters to them but haven’t had any response.”

There seemed to be some confusion about the existence of any correspondence from Mr Dickenson to the local RFS.

Initially, NSW Rural Fire Service community safety officer, FSC team, Marty Webster, said there was no record of having received any letters, but he would make inquiries.

“We have located the letter in question in a disused letterbox in front of the Fire Control Centre.

“This letterbox had been placed there for brigade use in the past, but was no longer required.

“I can see how this would cause confusion and the box has now been removed to avoid this happening again.”

Mr Webster said the letter has now been lodged with the service’s fire mitigation officer and is currently being processed. 

An inspection has been scheduled for Wednesday and an appropriate course of action will be determined.

“Bega Valley Shire Council maintains an Asset Protection Zone above the area in question and this was widened in February this year,” Mr Webster said.

“The Bega Valley Bush Fire Risk Management Plan is currently under review and during recent community consultation sessions at Eden this area was flagged as a concern.  

“The Bush Fire Management Committee is currently working through all such issues to assess the risk and assign appropriate treatments.”