Unpopular local law changes under review

Ratepayers wait in anticipation for Latrobe City Council to amend proposed changes to one of its local laws following community backlash.

Of more than 400 submissions and a petition with close to 500 signatures, only two people have shown their support to the draft changes to Local Law 2.

Under the proposal, residents would need a permit to use recreational vehicles or recreational vehicle tracks on private property – a clause that almost 90 per cent of submitters opposed.

Other mooted changes include imposing permits for launching water vehicles on council waterways, requiring permits for livestock to drive, graze or cross roads and regulating the long-term storage of vehicles on roads.

The local law is designed to regulate activities across the municipality and enhance the amenity of the area, but objectors have labelled council’s proposal as revenue raising.

“Somebody didn’t think when they wrote this document,” Morwell resident John Ellingham told The Express after addressing councillors on Monday night.

Councillor Sandy Kam asked officers to not only consider all submissions and amend the proposed changes where possible.

She also suggested the amended draft go back to the community for further comment, followed by public discussions of any alterations made.

Her motion was fully supported by fellow councillors, who heard several residents list their objections before considering what to do with the proposal.

Councillors acknowledged the significant amount of interest and community feedback the proposal had received and highlighted a need for clarification and adjustment.

“We want to make it logical, we don’t want to be over restricting unintentionally people’s activities if we don’t need to,” Cr Kam told The Express.

“The main thing is this may impact on you, it’d be good for you to read it and then tell us if you think the suggested local laws are reasonable, or if you think they’re unreasonable, then why.”

Council officers have until 20 June to amend the proposed Local Law 2 before council again releases the draft to the public for four weeks of consultation.

Latrobe Valley resident Matt Walker, who represents a Facebook group opposing the recreational vehicles and vehicle tracks clause, will be keeping a close eye on any updates.

He said he would have preferred the entire clause to be deleted from the local law, but would wait and see what council officers came back with.