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  • Save Perth Hills Inc

The letter The West refused to publish!

Save Perth Hills uses every avenue possible to inform people of the PLANNING DISASTER looming for our community if North $toneville gets the go-ahead.

But The West Australian slams the door in our face - constantly. You draw your own conclusions as to why.

This paper has, again, ignored an important letter to The Editor from Save Perth Hills asking Planning Minister Rita Saffioti to activate DISASTER PREPAREDNESS by calling an immediate halt to urban developments in fire prone areas, like ours, until they can be properly assessed against the lessons of this tragic fire season.

Importantly this letter acknowledges a significant anniversary for us: the January 12th 2014 Stoneville-Parkerville fires.

Today’s West dedicates pages to the Royal Family’s dramas - but our letter, on which lives may depend, was overlooked. As usual.

So here it is - for everyone for whom it matters - and that’s everyone who lives in fire prone communities, just like ours.

#AnthonydeCeglie (The West’s editor)

TO: The Editor, The West Australian Newspaper (for publication Saturday Jan 11)

RE: Community calls for a moratorium on development in fire prone regions – on the anniversary of the Stoneville-Parkerville Fires.

Dear Editor,

Six years ago tomorrow (January 12, 2014), fires destroyed 57 homes in Stoneville and Parkerville in Mundaring Shire – WA’s highest fire risk shire. Many in our community have not recovered.

While unprecedented fires burn across Australia, our Hills’ community is fighting plans by the Anglican Church to convert 555-hectares at North Stoneville into a ‘suburban townsite’ for more than 4,000 people - in the Extreme Fire Zone of the 2014 fires and on-site of the 2008 fire in which more property was lost.

4,000 panicked people cannot be evacuated safely – along with 2,000 existing locals, horse floats and trailers, on just two rural road exits. One road, at least, will be comprised by fire. Unlike NSW’s Batemans Bay, we don’t have a beach to shelter next door - we have the potentially volatile John Forrest National Park.

So, while the Prime Minister considers a Royal Commission into Australia’s summer of deadly fires, we call on Planning Minister Rita Saffioti to impose an immediate moratorium on urban development in proven bushfire-prone areas, like Stoneville, to avoid an Eastern States’ scale of disaster here.

Now is not the time to consider complex proposals like North Stoneville, in highly volatile environments, with major safety concerns, while fires burn and destroy communities just like ours, in environments just like ours, around the country.

There are significant lessons to learn from these tragic fires that require us to pause and re-assess, collectively, about how we might safely plan communities in fire-prone regions, given our ‘new norm’ of challenging – and deadly conditions.

Paige McNeil: Chairperson Save Perth Hills Inc.

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