Firewood depot’s up in ashes

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A firewood depot, which had been operating without permission in Bangholme’s Green Wedge zone, has been hauled over the coals by Greater Dandenong Council.

The 3 Soden Road business’s application for a planning permit was rejected by Greater Dandenong councillors on 10 September.

The proposal involved selling solid fuel such as coal, briquettes and firewood, which is within a declared bushfire-prone area.

Objectors opposed the use of B-double semi-trailers up to two times a week. A council report noted that trucks of that size are unable to access the site due to 4.5-tonne load limits on Pillars Road.

It was a case of “putting the cart before the horse”, Cr Angela Long said.

“Why would Council do a notice of decision on this application when it’s not fully finalised?”

With the support of most councillors, Cr Long moved a motion to reverse the council planner’s recommendation to approve the permit.

She argued it was adverse to the Green Wedge, had insufficient parking and would result in the removal of three native River Red Gum trees.

Cr Matthew Kirwan said the enterprise’s noise, dust and heavy-haulage traffic was counter to neighbours who chose to live a “semi-rural lifestyle”.

Cr Sean O’Reilly said it was a “really bad sign” that the proposed permit included six pages of conditions, in order to comply with the Green Wedge.

Dissenting councillor Timothy Dark said the site was being used for storage only, not for an industrial purpose.

The business would add little to existing traffic noise from Springvale Road, and would be required to offset removed trees, Cr Dark said.

The owner had been required to apply for a permit after Greater Dandenong was aware that it was operating in breach of the planning scheme, Greater Dandenong city planning director Jody Bosman said.

“Now that the application has been refused, Council will commence further enforcement action if the operation does not cease.”


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