Dear David George,
Re: Transition Creswick submission regarding Local Law #2
As a member of the Hepburn Shire’s Z-NET Round Table Committee and as a local group dedicated to a grass roots transition to a low carbon culture and addressing issues arising from the Climate Emergency, we are concerned that various changes proposed in the draft document for Local Law #2 will have a negative impact on the community’s ability to continue to make a difference in these areas.
We support submissions made by Taryn Lane for the Z-Net Roundtable Committee and the views and opinions put forward by many other concerned community members, including Dr Patrick Jones, Jen Bray and Mark Dickenson, Vasko Drogriski, Per Barnard and David Holmgren. We also refer to the important community meeting that was held recently where over 130 people peacefully gathered to voice their concerns about controls in this document that seek to penalise and restrict rather than support moves to low carbon living and leadership around the shire’s own declared position on a Climate Emergency. To quote David Holmgren, we believe the proposed General Local Law No2 2019 “is a stunning example of governance dysfunction that sets up Hepburn Shire Council for an unwinnable collision with household and community self-provision and self-regulation.” We also support David Homgren’s creative recommendation to support “small scale, slow solutions” where local residents can creatively and reasonably use and manage public land for community benefit without a permit where the persons are;
- natural persons (rather than corporations)
- are not using bank finance and/or machines greater than 5kw power? in the activity
- are not making monetary gain as part of a formal business
- have liaised with other local residents potentially affected by the activity.
Further recommendations we make are as follows:
Clause 2.4 Use of vehicles in a municipal place. A person must not ride or drive any motor car,
motor cycle, bicycle or other vehicle in any municipal place other than in an area set aside for
vehicle parking or any designated roadway or bicycle pathway. – Remove ‘bicycle’ and ‘or other vehicle’ as it may apply to electric bicycles as we need to be promoting sustainable transport options and developing safer paths and means for their use.
Clause 2.5.2 A person, must not, without a permit, hold a street party, festival, procession, or event, in a public place. Remove entire clause as it is superfluous to clause 2.5.1 which should cover the event permit need. This clause as it stands mitigates against the right to congregate and gather and restricts our civil liberties. We should be encouraging people to work together, celebrate our slow living ways, protest inaction on climate solutions etc.
Clause 2.12 A person must not, without a permit, place on a road, footpath or public place any tables and/or chairs, or any associated equipment, for the purpose of allowing food and drink to be sold to or consumed by any member of the public. Allowances need to be made for existing roadside stalls and community garden activities such as are commonplace for: flowers, wood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, plant sales, lemonade stalls. We need to be supporting local small-scale solutions that address issues of food security and climate change adaptation.
Clause 2.15 A person must not without a permit:(a) sell, offer or display for sale any goods
or services from a public place; or(b) erect, place or in any other way, leave any structure or physical thing in apublic place for the purposes ofselling, displaying or offering for sale
any goods or services. Recommend as above in clause 2.12
2.18 A person must not, without a permit, remove firewood, including dead trees and fallen branches, flowers, other vegetation or fruit from a road reserve or Council land, unless permitted to do so by Council signage. This clause removes the right to forage for fruit such as apples, blackberries, mushrooms. This is a food security and climate adaptation issue and should be allowed unless specifically signed.
2.20 .1&2 Remove ‘Public Place’ from clause. Green space is premium for food growing,
composting, reducing waste. Shade plays an important part in climate adaptation.
2.21 Planting vegetation on roads. A person must not, without a permit, or in accordance a council plan or policy relating to planting vegetation on roads, being a document incorporated by reference into this Local Law, plant any trees or other vegetation on any part of a road. Clarify definition of road to not include nature strips and verges. Green space is important for food growing, composting, reducing waste. Shade plays an important part in climate adaptation.
4.4 Damage or nuisance caused by trees or plants. An owner or occupier of land must not
allow a tree, shrub, bush or other vegetation on that land to hinder obstruct, damage or Interfere with the operation of any drain, pit or footpath vested in or under Council’s management or control. Remove ‘hinder’ as it is ambiguous.
4.7 Scavenging. A person must not, without a permit search through or remove any articles of rubbish, recyclables or items from a Transfer Station or left for collection in a public place. The Transfer Station is a salvage area and street collection of hard rubbish will reduce council
resource requirement and enable recycling. Remove this clause. We should be finding ways to reduce our waste and increase recycling. Develop policy to allow salvaging along safe guidelines. We need to be promoting the shire as a leader in this area and continue to see creative and innovative reuse of materials including electricals- eg repair café.
4.9.2 A person must not place the following material in a container for collection by Council (f) waste of any kind. Remove this clause as it is too broad and confusing.
4.10.1 All material for recycling collection by Council shall be placed in an approved container
with the exception of newsprint and cardboard which are to be bundled separately and tied with string. This change needs wider consultation and consideration before implementing. Delete clause.
We also support the Z-NET Roundtable proposed development of ‘Enforcement Guidelines’, which sit beside the Local Laws and offer a more tailored response to areas of concern.
We also recommended that the following activities occur:
– A best practice assessment be undertaken of how other leading environmental LGA’s and towns/cities are approaching such regulations, such as Byron Bay, Moreland and Yarra, as well as the ACT.
– a working group be established with all of the groups involved in climate change work in the Shire such as Hepburn Z-NET Roundtable members, Hepburn Relocalisation Network, Transition Creswick and key stakeholders.
– Explicit description of the interactivity of the Hepburn Z-NET Community Transition Plan and broader community leadership around a climate emergence, relocalisation and permaculture that establish the need for innovation and leadership in the Enforcement Guidelines to support a Low Carbon Culture.
On behalf of Transition Creswick members