Mine road a ‘fire fighter’

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
The Nullaki peninsula.
Camera IconThe Nullaki peninsula.

Lives and properties could be saved from destruction thanks to the contentious Nullaki mine project, according to one volunteer firefighter.

Youngs Siding Bushfire Brigade deputy fire control officer Martin Peterson said the Nullaki project, with its promise of new bitumen road, brought undeniable safety benefits for fighting fires.

Only one bitumen road into the peninsula exists, which Mr Peterson said could impede evacuation and firefighting.

“If there’s a fire and there’s one road, everyone is trapped on the peninsula,” he said.

“A second access road or escape route, if it does catch fire, would be marvellous.

“It will be advantageous for the fire brigade, and I don’t think people ... realise for nearly eight months of the year, they’ll have a bitumen road and no traffic.”

Mr Peterson has been a volunteer firefighter for about 20 years and recalled three Nullaki fires sparking from lightning strikes since 2017.

One of the three fires, he said, had been inaccessible to fire crews without bulldozing their way to flames.

The State Administrative Tribunal’s approval of the lime pit in January, after two City of Albany council rejections, received a public backlash.

It followed a 92 per cent disapproval rate when the proposal was open for public comment.

Like many people who live on the peninsula, Mr Peterson said he was initially concerned about extra traffic near his property stemming from the operating lime pit.

However, he said vehicle movement was already regular and he was not worried by an extra 14 trucks a day as a result of the mine’s operations.

“I’ve got a foot in both camps ... I’ve got a farm on Lake Saide Road, the truck route,” he said.

“I get every person down the back of Youngs Siding going past my house every day. What’s 14 extra trucks going to do?

“A lot of people don’t realise how busy it is because they’re all in off-shoots and they’re away all the day.”

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