MidCoast Council has assured Hallidays Point residents it would not undertake any work on an asset protection zone (APZ) without consulting the community first.
Council made the reassurance following a number of concerns raised by the community it planned to clear an area on the southern side of a wildlife corridor and designated bushfire APZ next to Maslin Close, Red Head.
This zone has existed since the subdivision was approved many years ago, MidCoast Council liveable communities director, Paul De Szell said.
"The asset protection zone has been in place for many years, however has not been maintained," he said.
"Now we have landowners wishing to build on their blocks we are required to ensure the zone is in place."
Mr De Szell assured council was committed to balancing both the integrity of the wildlife corridor and the requirement to maintain the bushfire protection zones.
"We do appreciate there is community concern about our management of this area and I would like to assure you we are not undertaking any work at this point in time.
We will make sure the community is informed about what we will be required to do before we undertake any work.MidCoast Council liveable communities director, Paul De Szell
"We will make sure the community is informed about what we will be required to do before we undertake any work."
While meeting the bushfire planning regulations is the responsibility of individual lot owners, there is an obligation for council to maintain the zone that falls into the public reserve, in line with the approved fire management strategy for the site to provide protection to the homes that are planned to be built in the area.
It is important for the community to understand that asset protection zones are not maintained through complete clearing by bulldozers, Mr De Szell said.
"Maintaining the tree canopy is an important part of asset protection zones.
"Maintenance in these areas focuses on reducing fuel loads by managing grasses and understorey clearing."
Any work will be undertaken in close consultation with council ecologists to ensure koala habitat trees are not removed and with the work being carried out by both hand and machinery as required, to provide the least impact on the local fauna.
"Asset protection zones are successfully maintained with significant koala populations in a number of councils on the coast of NSW, and we will be looking to employ best practice in the way we proceed."
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