New local laws could impact significantly on the the lifestyle and amenity of Redlands residents and affect the environment including our koalas.
The Council recently sent a letter to residents of Ridgewood Downs, the beautiful rural residential estate in Mt Cotton. A number of conditions on this model development date back to its approval in 1992. Many of these conditions are great examples of how to conserve environmental values, habitat protection and amenity. If you drive through the subdivision the native wildlife will likely welcome you, possibly slowing your car as they show no fear.
Development conditions included one dog (in an enclosure) and no cats. So residents were surprised that the Council’s letter advised them that the long standing conditions were planned to be removed. After a backlash from this dedicated community it seems that all went quiet.
Need to read the new local laws
Well maybe this community needs to read (and read carefully) about the draft Local Laws on the Redland Council web site.
The Council’s web site presents the community with 28 pdf documents to review. Readers are advised:
the “laws are quite long, refer to our fact sheets to see which topics are addressed in each law as well as our list of noteworthy changes, which is a guide, rather than an exhaustive list”
The hyper linked “noteworthy changes” gives the impression that the big changes are explained. But the hyper link brings the reader to another page which explains that:
“the majority of the existing laws have been carried over into the new laws so there would be very little change should the new laws be adopted. Full details on any matter are to be found in the laws themselves“.
The concerned citizen, trying to participate in this process might find the web site a circular trip.
There are some fact sheets that provide information on the general matters covered under the laws and provide direction to where, in the laws, a matter is covered. However the web site states the “changes are to be found in the laws themselves“!!
Is this another instance of “tick and flick consultation?
This lists on the web site show some of the changes that would come into effect should the proposed draft local laws be adopted to replace Council’s existing local laws. But this is not an exhaustive list of all changes.
Will koalas lose out
Most important, there is a plan to remove references to Koala Management Areas in draft Local Law 2 Animal Management. The current version of this local law requires dog owners to have suitable enclosures in defined Koala Management Areas.
People should check these changes for themselves, but it does seem a backward step considering the population of Koalas in the Redlands has dropped so far. Experts are concerned that the koalas of the Redlands are now endangered.
Horses and “miniature pigs”
For those who choose to live in a peaceful protected area there is a push to have horses, miniature pigs and many other farm animals on blocks as small at 4 000 sqm (about an acre) Properly stabled and cared for this “carrying capacity” might be possible, but pity the horse … given an acre block will likely include a house, garage, pools, stables, parking, driveways and sheds.
And by the way how big is a miniature pig? It seems that sometimes the cute little pet becomes a bit bigger than expected. The RSPCA says there are no true miniature pigs available in Australia. Will Council staff be regularly measuring miniature pigs to ensure that they stay within the 60 cm limit?
There is an opportunity to have your say on this review and hope that some in Council pushing these change will listen to Redlands residents. It seems there will be no public forums or face to face consultation. You just have to navigate the Council web site, find the law or laws that impact on you and read quiet technical “laws” written in legalese.
Interestingly the web site makes a declaration as to who has been consulted in preparing the draft laws. It states:
Council has conducted a complete review of all its laws to combine them into the new framework and allow for their adoption at the same time. The local law review process has included consultation with key internal stakeholders, Redland City Councillors, all Queensland Government departments, Council’s solicitors, Redland City Chamber of Commerce and other Queensland councils that have adopted the State Model Local Law.
Is someone missing? YES! Us the community!
The draft laws, as confusing as they are, are now available for review by the community. People can make comments and submissions until Wednesday 8 October 2014.
P.S. The scope of the local laws
The web site assures the reader that the majority of the existing laws have been carried over into the new draft laws, therefore there would be very little change should the new laws be adopted. Clearly the scope of the local laws deal with issues that help the wheels of our society to work.
But changes that may interest you relate to:
· keeping roadside memorials appropriate and safe
· clearer requirements for temporary signs
· making it easier to run events in the City
· making it easier for Council to direct people to clean up unsightly and overgrown properties
· feeding native birds in a way that does not causes nuisance to neighbours
· allowing a miniature pig as a pet
· aligning parking infringements with State Government penalty criteria
· controlling dogs on properties sized 2000m2 or more in koala management areas.