SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council’s administration panel is likely to vote for a U-turn on amending the municipality’s current General Local Law (2014) code following widespread community condemnation of many of its proposed changes.
Some 300 formal submissions and thousands of signatures on both paper-based and on-line petitions have prompted an earlier review of the issue, well ahead of the amendment process’s original consultation period deadline of January 10, 2020.
The panel acting as the shire council will decide whether to discontinue the mooted General Local Law (Amendment 1 of 2019) at its ordinary meeting to be held in Leongatha today, Wednesday December 18, 2019.
A statement issued by the shire on Friday December 13, 2019 advised that “a report in the agenda for [Wednesday’s} meeting recommends that the amendment be abandoned, and that Council continue to use the un-amended 2014 Local Law.”
The statement continues, “this is a result of the obvious lack of community support for the proposed amendments.”
Administration panel chair Julie Eisenbise noted the importance of reviewing the current Local Law amendments out for consultation.
“The administrators have requested a report for the December council meeting following the significant community concern over the proposed Local Law Amendment,” she said.
“We have been actively listening to our community and it has been made clear that the majority are concerned that the Local Law Amendment will impact the amenity of their properties and some businesses.
“The Local Law Amendment came from a previous council decision in relation to the Cat Curfew and Dog Leash Order,” Ms Eisenbise said.
“While our intention was to understand community sentiment, this has clearly been provided and we will deliberate appropriately on the matter [at today’s meeting].”
An executive summary in the meeting’s agenda states that “the aim of the consultation period [which began in late October 2019] was to generate discussion and receive feedback from the community.
“The level of response from the community has been significant, Council has welcomed all feedback and is now responding to community sentiment.
“While the proposed amendments were shaped by a number of complaints that Council has received since the last Local Law review, it has become apparent that the proposed amendments are not supported by the majority of the South Gippsland community,” the summary continues.
ue the consultation process and acknowledges that the current 2014 Local Law meets the expectations of most South Gippsland residents.”
One Corner Inlet district resident and ratepayer described the shire panel’s intention to return to the current Local Law General Local Law (2014) as “a good and sound decision for the general community.”
Among the many suggested amendments that attracted a high level of community criticism were those requiring individual permits for livestock kept on non-farming zone properties, restrictions on the use of “recreational vehicles” and limits on camping on privately-owned land.
One on-line petition said the proposed local law amendments “are at times ridiculous, often impractical and unenforceable, run counter to the developing economic and social character of the region, will lower property values, and add expensive, time-wasting bureaucratic hurdles for ratepayers in an already high-rating shire.”The shire’s statement invited “those wanting to watch a decision made in action on the Local Law Amendment … to attend the Council Meeting on Wednesday December 18 at 2.00pm in Council Chambers, Michael Place, Leongatha or view the livestream on demand at www.southgippsland.vic.gov.au/live
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