Russell Island resident Ann Hagen calls for fire hazard complaint process review

A RUSSELL Island resident has called for a review of council’s handling of fire hazard complaints on Southern Moreton Bay Islands.

BRANCHES: The trees cut down on a Russell Island property which Ann Hagen regarded as a fire hazard. Photo: Ann Hagen

BRANCHES: The trees cut down on a Russell Island property which Ann Hagen regarded as a fire hazard. Photo: Ann Hagen

Ann Hagen raised concerns in council last week after she reported chopped down trees on land near Russell Island shops as a fire hazard in December.

A council spokesperson said officers had inspected the property two days after the complaint and found the trees had been clearly illegally but were not dry enough to be deemed a fire risk.

They said the land was not in a bushfire hazard area.

Ms Hagen said residents kept a look out for hazards after bushfires on islands in 2016.

“I believe the handling of my complaint under local laws was wrong,” she said.

She said the laws stated fire hazards included dry vegetation that could be easily ignited.

“There needs to be a rethink because if someone chops down huge trees near properties next summer and they go tinder dry they should be removed as soon as possible.

The cut down trees on the road side. Photo: Ann Hagen

The cut down trees on the road side. Photo: Ann Hagen

“I believe that had this fire hazard been located near Victoria Point shops and homes or near another populated centre in the Redlands it would have been acted on much faster.

“We islanders were lucky nobody set it alight.”

Ms Hagen said residents shared pictures of neglected blocks and dangerous trees on a Facebook group named Redland City Council Vegetation Neglect – Southern Moreton Bay Island Blocks.

“There are comments about a lack of back-burning in the south and concerns about the area around Sandy Beach.”

The council spokesperson said officers had confirmed in January the trees had been cleared illegally.

“Council commenced compliance action after completing the investigation and has been working with the owner to ensure the removal of the damaged vegetation which was completed,” the spokesperson said.

“Despite it not being considered a fire hazard at the time, council appreciates reporting of these types of incidents,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said council took vegetation protection measures seriously.

“Owners and contractors found to be clearing vegetation without the appropriate permits may be required to replant and possibly face legal action where significant fines can apply.

“Before considering removing vegetation, residents are urged to contact council.”

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