East Gippsland Shire Council’s process for allowing bushfire affected residents to meet their short-term storage needs was formalised at this week’s Council meeting.
Many residents need temporary storage for items to maintain their property or while they prepare to rebuild.
For some people this storage may be a shipping container. Others will be considering rebuilding their shed or garage.
General Manager Bushfire Recovery Stuart McConnell said a Temporary Storage at Premises Impacted by Bushfire interim policy was needed.
“Ordinarily, residential zoned properties are only allowed to have a shipping container or shed on the property if there is also a house on the land. Our General Local Law also limits the use of shipping containers,” Mr McConnell said.
“Bushfire affected properties need a different approach. People need somewhere to store equipment for maintaining their property, or items for when they are ready to rebuild.
“At the same time, we need to ensure these temporary structures don’t become permanent fixtures on the landscape, as things like shipping containers create visual amenity issues.
“This policy provides a balance. It supports our community to meet their immediate needs, while ensuring it does not create a legacy issue down the track,” Mr McConnell said.
Mayor Cr John White said the policy was an important piece of work.
“This interim policy makes the process simpler for affected residents which is something we need to facilitate wherever we can,” Cr White said.
“The timelines put in place give property owners certainty, and ensures temporary dwellings aren’t dotted across our communities in decades to come.
The policy approach is informed by the recent changes to the Victorian Planning Provisions for temporary accommodation where the dwelling is lost due to bushfires.
The provisions also exempt such temporary accommodation, and some other buildings, from the need for a planning permit, subject to Council being satisfied in relation to certain objectives.