A decision to review a local law which regulates the use of motorised recreational vehicles has divided Macedon Ranges council.
The council will allocate funds in its 2018-19 budget for community consultation on the law, with some councillors saying proper consultation was lacking when it was written in 2013.
Local Law number 10 stipulates that residents need a permit to use motorised recreational vehicles – motor bikes, trail bikes, go-karts – on a property smaller than four hectares.
Use of the vehicles is prohibited within 500 metres of a dwelling.
Councillor Roger Jukes has been raising concerns about the “blanket prohibition” since last year, saying most of the shire’s “rural living is within 500 metres of a dwelling”.
He said he had received complaints from residents saying the law probihited them from legally riding the vehicles on their own properties.
Cr Jukes told Star Weekly that the community was asked for feedback about the use of recreational vehicles in 2013, but the decision to ban their use within 500 metres of a house was not put to the community.
At the council’s most recent meeting, Cr Mandi Mees said she believed the commmunity consultation in 2013 lacked “full transparency”.
“We never had the conversation about banning in any way,” Cr Mees told the meeting. “There are members of the community who have no opportunity to even apply to operate any kind of motorised recreational vehicle on their own private property.”
In February, Cr Jukes successfully moved to review the law. However mayor Jennifer Anderson attempted to rescind that decision at the council’s latest meeting.
Cr Anderson argued the law was open for consultation for “plenty of time” when it was written. She said the community should be able to have a say on whether budget funds are allocated to reviewing an issue that had already sought community consultation.
Several councillors said they had been contacted by residents both for and against the vehicles.
Four councillors voted to retract the council’s decision to fund a review of the law, while five voted to uphold the decision.
Councillor Bill West said it was “the most difficult subject” he had encountered on the council.