To: Mayor and Councillors, Hepburn Shire
Date: December 6th, 2019
Dear Mayor and Councillors,
I write in relation to Local Laws 2. In particular I wish to raise concerns about:
- Local Law no. 4.7- Scavenging;
- Local Law no. 2.15- Trading in a public place;
- Definition of event and public place;
- Actively engaging community members in the development of Local Laws #2.
Local Law no. 4.7 – Scavenging
This law prohibits sorting through or retrieving waste material from the Shire’s transfer station and the roadside. There appears to be a contradiction between the Shire’s Sustainability Strategy, which argues for reduction of waste going into landfill, and this local law, which prohibits gathering and repurposing waste material. Local Law 4.7 also undermines Council’s support and encouragement to Daylesford’s Repair Café. As one of the organisers and supporters of the Repair Café, it is due to the skills and commitment of volunteer fixers and supporters that just over 1 tonne of household and garden items have been repaired in our first year of operation, which otherwise would have gone to landfill.
At the Local Laws #2 Community-led Meeting held on December 3rd, attended by at least 100 local people, almost everyone in the room indicated that they salvage materials from the tip/transfer station and from the roadside, and that these salvaged materials are repurposed or repaired. This purposeful salvaging reduces landfill. Many of the Repair Café’s fixers and supporters take material back from the tip, fix and use it. Perfectly good stuff gets discarded, and according to fixers, much is easily able to be repaired and/or re-used.
I request that the Shire:
- change their language from ‘scavenging’ to ‘salvaging’;
- adopt an attitude where salvaging is encouraged and valued as a community service and a waste minimisation strategy;
- withdraw local law no.4.7 and, instead, develop guidelines for safe salvaging.
Local Law no. 2.15- Trading in a public place
This local law prohibits selling goods in a public place without a permit. Local law no. 2.15 contradicts the State Government’s explicit support for farm gate sales, for purchasing from the source, and it runs counter to the principles of localisation and support local initiatives.
At the Local Laws #2 Community-led meeting held on December 3rd almost all who attended indicated their regular purchase of items such as eggs, honey, potatoes, plants, flowers and fruit from road-side and farm gate stalls. Many local children earn their pocket money through produce sold at road-side stalls. These children learn about responsibility, they learn to contribute to the household /family economy. They also learn the value of money.
Requiring permits for roadside and farm gate stalls is administratively time consuming and hard to police. Permit costs are a disincentive to young people trying to contribute to family life and their household economy.
I recommend withdrawal of Local Law2.15, and ask that the Shire, instead, develop guidelines for road-side and farm gate stalls.
Definition of ‘event’ and ‘public place’
In Local Laws #2 the redefinition of ‘event’ and ‘public place’ is broad and all encompassing. As a result, almost any spontaneous or planned gatherings, held outside private house and land, is likely to require a permit. As an active member of the Yandoit ,Clydesdale and Franklinford community planning group, we regularly organise community gatherings in public places. These strengthen community connection, welcome new comers, assist in fire preparedness, plan for community needs, build positive relationships between newcomers and long term residents, inform us of local history, to name a few. Our community market and trade fair is held on public land in and around the Yandoit hall. It is an excellent way to get to know those living in our neighbourhood and to promote and encourage local skills, knowledge, trades and creativity etc. These local community building activities will now require a permit – our history in story sessions, our community Christmas carols, our meetings with ward councillors, our local CFA fundraising morning teas, our community markets and much more.
I recommend that the definition of ‘public place’ and ‘event’ be reviewed and that this review be undertaken in consultation with a broad cross section of the community. I ask the Shire to review these definitions with a view to encouraging rather than deterring community connectedness and resilience.
Actively engaging community members in the development of appropriate local laws in the face of significant and unpredictable change
The Shire’s recent declaration of a climate emergency is a welcome step. We face challenging and unpredictable times.
Many of the proposed local laws pertaining to municipal and public places and laws and roads, to community amenity and safety, and to animals and birds, inhibit our capacity as community members to transition to low carbon ways of living, and to minimise the waste we generate. A number of the proposed local laws discourage the kind of innovation necessary for a shift in consciousness towards low carbon ways of living, and consequently inhibit our capacity to adapt in the face of a warming planet. Many of the proposed local laws constrain the ways we gather as communities, whether spontaneous or planned. These are ways we have gathered as communities for hundreds and thousands of years. Further, the proposed Local Law#2 weaken our ability to build community resilience and to support one another. I appreciate that these impacts may not have been intended by the Shire in their redrafting of Local Laws#2.
I ask Hepburn Shire to work in collaboration with the communities to develop local laws that are congruent with the climate emergence we face; that respond to expressed needs of communities; that foster community connection; and that encourage community innovation and resilience in the transition to low carbon living.
I would like to speak to these points at Council’s special meeting on December 16th,