BRAD Snell has been riding motorcycles since he was five years old, but he now fears South Gippsland youngsters will be denied the same pleasure.
Mr Snell is taking a leading role in a campaign against proposed changes to South Gippsland Shire Council local laws which would restrict the riding of recreational vehicles on private land.
He has launched a petition and delivered copies of it to numerous businesses across the shire. He is also encouraging people to make individual submissions to the council via the Our Say link on the council website.
Under the proposed local law, which is open until January 10 for public submissions, recreational vehicles for non-commercial purposes would be banned on any land in the shire except for land zoned as farming.
Other proposed restrictions include not operating within 500 metres of general residential zoned land, only operating between 7am and 6pm on weekdays and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays, and not at all on Sundays without written permission by council’s local laws officers.
The use of recreation vehicles would also only be permitted on farming zone land associated with a dwelling on the property, and the landowner must be present at all times.
Neighbouring councils, Baw Baw and Wellington Shires, have local laws relating to the use of recreational vehicles but the restrictions only apply to the zoning of the land on which such vehicles cannot be used.
With a long history of volunteering with local motorcycle clubs and racing competitively at local, state and national levels, Mr Snell said the proposed amendments represented a major disconnection with the community.
“People who are recreational users are going to suffer the most from these changes,” he said.
“But it’s not just the users, it’s also the families who have children who ride and people who have invested in land down here for recreational activities.”
Mr Snell wants council to abandon the proposed local law changes and work with leaders of recreational vehicle activities to come up with a plan that promotes the sport and supports youth activities within the shire.
He also called on people who have complained to council about recreational vehicles to “talk to your neighbours, establish healthy relationships, learn to communicate”.
South Gippsland Shire Council manager regulatory services Luke Mullen said the local laws team had received 49 complaints about noise from recreational vehicles in numerous property zones since July 2018.
“The number of complaints indicate a rise from previous years and is partly reflective of population growth within South Gippsland,” Mr Mullen said.
“We acknowledge that this opinion forms only a minority of the community’s voice.”
He said council wanted to hear from the entire community about the current local law and proposed amendments and urged people to make official submissions “so that the final amendments to the new local law represent the majority of the community’s views and needs”.