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Works complete at Harcourt Valley Primary School

Bushland at Harcourt before and after the clean up.

A native area of bushland at Harcourt Valley Primary School has been transformed through a partnership with Council.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

An overgrown area of native bushland at Harcourt Valley Primary School has been cleaned up and is now available for students to enjoy, as part of an arrangement with Mount Alexander Shire Council.

The area known as Ulambara is located at the corner of Mills and Coolstore Roads. It is next to the school’s basketball stadium that will soon be declared as a new Neighbourhood Safer Place – Bushfire Place of Last Resort.

Council officers worked with staff, parents, the Department of Education and Training and the CFA to identify the stadium as a Bushfire Place of Last Resort and carry out the works to ensure the building was suitable.

“Any area that is designated as a Bushfire Place of Last Resort needs to have minimal vegetation nearby,” said Luke Ryan, Municipal Fire Prevention Officer, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“By cleaning up the area near the stadium, it now meets the strict requirements and the added bonus is that students now have a larger area to play and explore,” said Mr Ryan.

The works included pruning overhanging branches, cutting back and removing vegetation and brushcutting.

Harcourt Valley Primary School Principal Andrew Blake agreed the partnership benefits students and the community.

“The area is now far more accessible for students, and the space certainly provides more opportunities for learning, particularly for environmental studies,” said Mr Blake.

“We are lucky to have a place that students can enjoy the environment on school grounds,” he said.

The stadium is expected to be declared as a Bushfire Place of Last Resort in November and will be the only such location in Harcourt.

“It’s important to remember that you only head there if your emergency plan doesn’t work out,” said Mr Ryan.

“Everyone should prepare a bushfire plan which incorporates leaving your home early, particularly if you live in or close to a high fire risk area.

“A Bushfire Place of Last Resort is not manned during an emergency, but will provide some level of protection if a fire goes through and you haven’t left home in time,” said Mr Ryan.

“Remember that they are a place of last resort – you’d be better off leaving your property well before a fire goes through,” he said.

For further information on how to develop your Bushfire Plan visit the Fire Prevention page on Council’s website at www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/FirePrevention or the CFA website www.cfa.vic.gov.au.

Other Neighbourhood Safer Place – Bushfire Place of Last Resort are located at:
• Castlemaine – Mostyn Street and Victory Park precinct
• Campbells Creek – Campbells Creek Community Hall
• Guildford – John Powell Reserve
• Maldon – Bill Woodfull Reserve and Pavilion
• Newstead – Newstead Community Centre
• Taradale – Taradale Hall.

Image: Before and after photos of the bushland at Harcourt Valley Primary School.

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