Victory for ratepayers

It would appear Latrobe Valley residents have had a victory in voicing their objections to proposed changes to one of council’s local laws.

Permits will not be required to use recreational vehicles or tracks on private property after Latrobe City officers removed the clause from council’s draft local law 2.

“Whatever you want to do on private property is up to you, if you’re not annoying people too much,” Latrobe Valley resident Matt Walker said.

“I do know council had other concerns, but they will be addressed in other ways now.”

Mr Walker runs a Facebook page opposing council’s proposed recreational vehicle clause, which has gained about 260 ‘likes’.

He said it was surprising council had removed the clause entirely, but said it was the “ultimate result”.

Council had received more than 400 submissions in its first round of consultation, only two of which supported the draft.

Close to 90 per cent of those submissions opposed having a permit to use recreational vehicles or tracks on private property, with a petition against the proposal gaining close to 500 signatures.

Councillors requested changes be made after taking that feedback on board.

The amendments were presented to councillors on Monday night – and now the draft’s out for public viewing again to see what the community thinks.

“I encourage people (those who made a submission or were interested in the document previously) to look at it again and make sure they’re happy,” Latrobe City general manager of city development Phil Stone said.

“If they still have questions, come along to the community meeting and they can have their questions answered.

“We definitely want to know, have we got it right this time?”

Mr Stone said the local law 2 could be quite a dry document to read, but it sought to “protect the amenity and good order of the local community”.

He said the current proposed changes were an effort to “strengthen, tighten and adjust” Latrobe City’s local laws.

Other changes involve clarity around when permits are needed for occasional events at council parks, gardens and reserves, as well as for festivals in public places.

Stronger penalties will also apply for commercial or industrial buildings that have become dilapidated.

Mr Stone conceded council could not please everybody, but wanted a sense of consensus among residents.

The second round of community consultation will involve public meetings and a social media campaign. It is expected councillors will consider all submissions at a meeting on 22 August, and vote on the law’s adoption on 12 September. The proposed draft Community Amenity Local Law No. 2 2016 can be viewed on council’s website, at libraries or customer service centres.