More than 200 bushfire rebuild DAs have now been approved by Eurobodalla Council, with multiple families having moved into their rebuilt homes.
Council received 246 bushfire DAs between 1 January 2020 and 12 February 2021 and approved 203, with an average turnaround of 36.5 days.
A dedicated small team is giving priority to bushfire rebuilds, and Eurobodalla Council’s development services manager Gary Bruce encouraged anyone thinking about rebuilding to give Council a call.
“We’re pleased to see so many rebuilds taking shape and to receive positive feedback from families who have settled in their new home,” he said.
“We’re also seeing some commercial properties rebuilding, such as the Mogo Painting and Pottery Gallery, Batemans Bay Homemaker Centre and the Malua Bay Bowling Club, which we understand will commence reconstruction soon.
“Council is receiving more DAs than ever, and our staff are doing their absolute best absorbing the increased workload.
“We are now however starting to see more complex development applications submitted – these have taken more time to prepare and may take longer to assess.
“We strongly encourage people to contact our help desk first on 4474 1231 before submitting a DA, so we can help ensure applications address the relevant NSW Government legislation before they are submitted to help reduce the potential for delays.”
Mr Bruce said delays could relate to things like whether the property had legal access to a public road, slope of the land, vegetation removal and bushfire risk.
“Another issue that pops up regularly is ecology, because even though some of the land may be burnt, NSW Government legislation requires Council to assess the land as it was before the fires,” he said.
Council is however continuing to liaise with the NSW Planning Department on how to make it easier for people to recover and rebuild post-fires.
“Thankfully due to our strong advocacy we were successful last year in having some of the planning rules set by the NSW Government relaxed for bushfire rebuilds,” he said.
Mr Bruce said there had been a 39 per cent increase overall in DAs received – due to the increase in sea-changers and people wanting to renovate, a stronger-than-ever housing market, confidence in the local economy and bushfire rebuilds.
“While this is very welcome and points to growth in our economy, it has also meant that Council’s development assessment team has been stretched and applications are taking longer than anticipated,” he said.
Contact Council’s development help desk on 4474 1231.
Above: Bushfire rebuilds are progressing throughout Eurobodalla, with Council approving more than 200 bushfire rebuild DAs since January 2020.