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Bushfire event planning and management

23 May 2018

Bushfire risk planning and management doesn’t only apply to permanent habitable buildings.

 

Sometimes councils require a development application to be submitted for temporary buildings and tourist events (e.g. sports events, music festivals etc), which if located in a designated bushfire prone area, require assessment of the bushfire risk to life and property assets and demonstration of compliance with State Planning Policy 3.7 (Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas) and the associated Guidelines for Planning in Bushfire Prone Areas.

One such event is the Margaret River Surf Pro, a world-class tourism event held at several locations in the Margaret River area and which showcases the South West of Western Australia to a global audience. Strategen was engaged by Surfing WA to prepare a Bushfire Management Plan (BMP) to support development application for this tourism event.

The challenge with events of this nature is that there is no specific regulatory guidance in State Planning Policy 3.7 for temporary structures or events. In the absence of regulatory guidance, the BMP was developed using best practice principles and methodologies from SPP 3.7, the Guidelines and Australian Standard 3959-2009 Construction of buildings in Bushfire Prone Areas. As portions of the event sites were assessed as being in areas with BAL-40 or BAL-FZ ratings, the BMP successfully demonstrated compliance with ‘unavoidable development’.

Various ‘Performance Principle Solutions’ were used to address non-compliances with the prescriptive Acceptable Solutions of the Guidelines, and to demonstrate compliance with the bushfire protection criteria of the Guidelines. Evacuation diagrams for each of the event sites were produced to nominate emergency assembly areas for bushfire scenarios.

Although this year’s event was unfortunately cut short, we at Strategen certainly hope that the 2019 Margaret River Surf Pro is a successful one and that all risks, including bushfire, are successfully managed.

 

Photo credit above: WSL/Sloane