From Tim Anderson
Resident of Hepburn Shire.
I object to the proposed bylaw changes.
Hepburn Shire is not inner Melbourne or even a suburb, it is a rural/country location that does not need the anti-community/ anti freedom/ totalitarian bylaws that are being imposed on us. The proposed changes particularly to events, to foraging, utilising resources, (responsibly and sustainably) that occur on roadsides and reserves are offensive.
The definition of an event is ridiculous and unenforceable. Needing a permit for a private social events on private property is an insult to the community. This is what would be needed under the proposed definition. Does every table at a hotel or restaurant would need a permit under the proposed definition? (They are all separate parties so by the definition each would need one. UNENFORCABLE and RIDICULOUS)
It illustrates how ridiculous the proposed bylaws are and how broad and nonsensical they are. Why did Hepburn Shire even remotely think they would be acceptable?
Whoever drafted them clearly has not done any work to understand our Shire and its residents and their values. They look like the product of someone sitting in inner Melbourne who’s only understanding is the Melbourne environment. Those that defend and support them are again grossly out of touch with our Shire. Again it is not the city of Moreland.
It is very frustrating having to counter people who chose to move to Hepburn shire, presumably because they like it, then on arriving want to turn it into THEIR version of what they had in Melbourne or what their minds want the place to be.
If the bylaws have a significant number of sections that apparently “will not be or could not be” enforced, then why have them? Why are they being put up as acceptable and who’s incompetence lead to them being there (if they are effectively unenforceable)?
It has been suggested that shire officers simply won’t enforce them. I reject this premise on two fronts-
- The Shire has a long history of poor application of bylaws and standards, as evidenced by the volume of cases that end up in VEAC in recent decades.
I can provide proof of Shire officers taking sides in neighbourhood disputes, feeding information to their favoured party that is detrimental to the other party and acting in vindictive ways to the other party.
So I do not accept that most won’t be enforced, they are sitting there as a potential tool for vindictive officers to attack residents.
- If we as residents have to guess what bylaws are reasonable and being enforced, will mean that I can use as a valid defence that Hepburn Shire has a range of unenforceable bylaws and bylaws it does not enforce. As a resident I am confused exactly which are ‘real’ bylaws that will be enforced and which aren’t. There is a strong chance I will assume, and argue in court if needed, that the activities or actions that the Shire’s bylaws are unenforceable or ignored bylaws. I will argue that the confusion and absurdity of a number of bylaws that are unenforceable means that as a resident I was not aware that I was breaking one, such is the confusion raised in our community. That if I did break a bylaw that I thought it was one that was not enforced/ignored by the Shire.
Examples that residents cited at the town hall meeting of riding their horse to the shop, collecting kindling, foraging for food and the potential penalties for this adding up to $1000’s illustrates how anti-community, anti-sustainability and are what one would expect in North Korea not Hepburn Shire.
My recommendation is the proposed bylaws are scrapped, that an extensive community consultation be implemented and any changes to the bylaws recognise that this is a rural shire with rural values and strong sense of community, value sustainable living options. We DO NOT want an overbearing totalitarian Shire or aspire to city/urban controls on our lives and activities.
I support reverting back to the bylaws of the old Shire of Daylesford and Glenlyon.
Stepping back I need to ask what are the objectives of the bylaws? What actions/events behaviours have happened, are happening or will happen that we need to modify or create bylaws to address?
Once these have been listed, the next step should be “what are the risks or negatives” that these activities may lead to? What damage? What is it specifically that needs to be managed, addressed or stopped? Then with this list you can go about logically and in a targeted was create bylaws that address the risk.
What we have is a scatter gun set of bylaws that may have had some specific actions it needed to address but it has also captured hundreds of legitimate, sustainable, moral community spirited and individual actions or events and made them subject to the bylaws. In many examples they are ridiculous and unenforceable.
The Shire would need to appoint dozens of bylaw officers to sit giving out permits for private parties, social occasions at pubs, cafes, restaurant, local halls etc. Surely a measurable of any Shire’s bylaws is its capacity to deliver the services they require not to be in breach. i.e. shire officers issuing permits.
If they are adopted, a number of social disobedience actions will happen where large numbers of community members will apply for permits, hundreds or thousands of them, in a given week. If the shire cannot cope with the applicants, the ensuring media will tell all Victorians that Hepburn Shire has a set of totalitarian bylaws that impinge onto private functions on private property. That visiting tourists will need to apply for a permit for a family picnic, a family get together. A group of friends staying at a BnB. People visiting the Daylesford Market will all need permit to park their car on the grass at the rear of the station, people moving a dangerous item that has fallen on a road will need a permit before they do it.
The bylaws that are purely subjective relating to items on properties and perceptions they are unsightly are unacceptable. This can allow neighbourhood wars to take place. What is one person’s unsightly item, or pile of gravel or building material are the owner’s next project at home, items from which art is created etc. beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Again this is not inner Melbourne, we are a rural community and our needs and values are not those of an urban environment.
I as a rate payer I reject these bylaw amendments totally and demand this process be stopped and a proper consultative, evidence based revised proposed bylaws be drafted and released to the community. These should not be done by city lawyers who have NO IDEA about our community and its values.
What is being proposed would only make this a horrible, over regulated, punitive, imposing, controlling, boring, anti-community, anti-sustainability, anti-recycling shithole. This is not Hepburn Shire.