Environmental preservation a key priority
While Yarra Ranges' residents value their environment, how best to preserve it is a major issue for Council. Ian Gibb, Corporate Manager Planning and Environment, said while there is extensive public land in the Shire there is also a great deal of private land containing important remnant bushland.
Ian Gibb added, "We have outstanding landscape values that need to be preserved on private as well as public land.
"This creates an issue if there is incremental vegetation and tree removal."
Council has determined to take a strong stand on this issue and will resort to legal sanctions if necessary. Balancing the competing issues of environmental preservation and expansion of economic benefits is a key priority.
A sophisticated approach to its assessment of applications to remove vegetation has been adopted by Council.
"Considerable resources are invested in educating and extensively advising people about State and Local controls over vegetation removal," Ian Gibb said.
Penalties for those who contravene the controls are substantial. Hefty fines can be incurred and landowners can be required to carry out extensive replanting and weed control. Restrictions on grazing access in sensitive areas can also be imposed on landowners.
"By being prepared to use legal means to enforce the regulations, Council has shown that it takes environmental damage seriously and is prepared to act," he said. "It is essential to establish that preservation of the environment, which attracts so many people, supports so much local industry, and provides valued residential amenity, is crucial to the future of the Shire."
For further information contact Ian Gibb, telephone 1300 368 333.