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Special Council Meeting for emergency response

Special Council Meeting for emergency response
09 February 2022

City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin and CEO Sarah Philpott met with Mount Gambier Metropolitan Fire Service Senior Firefighter (retained) Darren McPhail, Station Officer (day crew) Phil Wood and Station Officer Adrian Puust this afternoon to thank the team for their work to contain the Crater Lakes fire. Council representatives also plan to meet with Country Fire Service volunteers in the coming weeks.
City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin and CEO Sarah Philpott met with Mount Gambier MFS Senior Firefighter (retained) Darren McPhail, Station Officer (day crew) Phil Wood and Station Officer Adrian Puust
City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin and CEO Sarah Philpott met with Mount Gambier Metropolitan Fire Service Senior Firefighter (retained) Darren McPhail, Station Officer (day crew) Phil Wood and Station Officer Adrian Puust this afternoon to thank the team for their work to contain the Crater Lakes fire. Council representatives also plan to meet with Country Fire Service volunteers in the coming weeks.

A Special Council Meeting was held in the Civic Centre Council Chamber last night to discuss the emergency response process following the Crater Lakes fire. Council endorsed recommendations relating to budget expenditure, procurement and road and land management to enable the Chief Executive Officer and Council officers to progress with early assessment and recovery activities in the area.

Council resolved to approve all expenditure for immediate response to the fire and recovery activities such as, but not limited to, road closures, assessment expertise and safety related materials and contractors required during the response and recovery process.

“We are currently in the initial assessment phase and we are still determining what kind of additional expertise we may require to undertake this work, so the authorisation from Council to spend funds where we need to is vitally important at this stage,” City of Mount Gambier CEO Sarah Philpott said.

“Council administration will provide details regarding the total expenditure of the work required to Elected Members on a weekly basis.”

The CEO is now authorised to procure specialised expertise as required to ensure recovery activities are undertaken in a timely manner.

“Council’s resolutions put in place the capacity for Council officers to act and respond to the fire immediately. They also allow us to keep parts of the site closed and to manage the traffic while we are making assessments in the area so that we can maintain people’s safety in the short term.”

An assessment plan is being developed including four stages. The first is to secure the fire affected site - which we have completed, the second is to undertake a risk assessment and zoning of affected areas based on their risk score, then assessment of fire damage and recovery measures and lastly, a gradual opening of the identified high risk zones. – Council CEO Sarah Philpott

Council reopened Marist Park oval (for organised sports only), the Leg of Mutton Lake, Davison Drive up to Marks lookout and the saddle area on Friday 4 February 2022. These areas were unaffected by the fire that burned 50 hectares of grass and scrub in the Crater Lakes precinct and following damage and risk assessment, are now deemed safe for public use.

Marist Park oval (for organised sports only), the saddle area including the GESA Route, Rock Track, Dutta Mutton, Washed Away, Saddle Backward and Nurses Curse walking/bike trails and the Leg of Mutton Lake were reopened on Friday 4 February 2022 following the Crater Lakes fire.
Valley Lakes re opening map w key
Marist Park oval (for organised sports only), the saddle area including the GESA Route, Rock Track, Dutta Mutton, Washed Away, Saddle Backward and Nurses Curse walking/bike trails and the Leg of Mutton Lake were reopened on Friday 4 February 2022 following the Crater Lakes fire.

The Valley Lakes, Centenary Tower, the back section of Carinya Gardens Cemetery, Potters Point, and all associated Crater Lakes walking/bike trails remain closed as the assessment process continues.

“Those parts of the Crater Lakes areas that are considered high risk zones remain closed to the public at all times on the basis of public safety, until they are deemed safe to reopen. We believe that the Valley Lake area may be able to be reopened in the next week or so.”

“Some of the areas of most concern are around the back section of the Carinya Gardens Cemetery and also Brownes Lake as the fire was most intense in these areas. Therefore, we would anticipate that they will remain off limits for a much longer period of time.”

Council continues to work with SAPOL and emergency services to ensure the safety of the site and the community with an increased presence in the area over the coming days.

“In the interest of public safety, we continue to urge people to keep out of the closed areas at the Crater Lakes that were impacted by the fire and adhere to the signage and bunting erected throughout the precinct.”

Council’s CEO urges people to be alert to the danger areas as forecast high temperatures and strong winds in the coming days may pose a threat to the immediate area which is still smouldering.

“Metropolitan Fire Service crews have advised they are still responding to hotspots particularly in the pines area adjacent to the Carinya Gardens Cemetery and on the staircase leading up to Centenary Tower. With more hot weather forecast, we anticipate that hotspots may continue to flare up, so please stay away,” Ms Philpott said.

The fire was first reported at about 2:30am on 25 January 2022 after flames were seen near Centenary Tower. It was contained by emergency services on Wednesday 26 January 2022 and the Crater Lakes precinct was returned to the care and control of Council on Thursday 27 January 2022.

At the Special Council Meeting, City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin praised emergency services and Council staff for their work in response to the fire.

“On behalf of all Elected Members I’d like to thank all emergency agencies, staff and volunteers who were involved in fighting the fire, and also residents for their assistance in remaining away from the site in the peak of the emergency,” Mayor Martin said.

“To contain and confine the fire with no loss of life or property was simply amazing and a magnificent effort. The response and recovery process will now see us work together to rejuvenate the jewel in Mount Gambier’s crown.”

City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin and CEO Sarah Philpott with Mount Gambier MFS Station Officer (day crew) Phil Wood, Station Officer Adrian Puust and Senior Firefighter (retained) Darren McPhail. Council formally resolved to thank all emergency services, volunteers and Council staff involved in fighting the Crater Lakes fire at the Special Council Meeting last night.
City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin and CEO Sarah Philpott with Mount Gambier MFS Station Officer (day crew) Phil Wood, Station Officer Adrian Puust and Senior Firefighter (retained) Darren McPhail
City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin and CEO Sarah Philpott with Mount Gambier MFS Station Officer (day crew) Phil Wood, Station Officer Adrian Puust and Senior Firefighter (retained) Darren McPhail. Council formally resolved to thank all emergency services, volunteers and Council staff involved in fighting the Crater Lakes fire at the Special Council Meeting last night.

Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 8721 2401 or smclean@mountgambier.sa.gov.au