Councillors reviewing Council bylaws say there is no need for more regulation to manage stock movement on local roads but they would like to see more education for drivers so they know how to behave when encountering flocks of sheep or cattle being moved on the highways.
Fifty one of the 75 submissions received on the proposed bylaw changes related to stock droving and Councillor Laressa Shenfield who chaired the group of councillors reviewing the bylaws says, having listened to submissions over two days, councillors heard no compelling reason to tighten up the bylaw covering stock movement.
“Our bylaws have to be practical and enforceable. There has not been a flood of complaints that cause us to think the bylaw should be changed. However we do think there may be an opportunity for more guidance – both for farmers and motorists. For example, its common sense for a stock drover to wear a high viz vest and use appropriate warning signs, and it would be worthwhile providing more education for drivers, especially tourists, about driving through a flock on the road.”
She said councillors did not want to regulate unnecessarily but it would be good to see groups like Federated Farmers and the AA reflect on the issue and work with Council to promote good practices.
Councillor Shenfield said the discussion between councillors and submitters was constructive.
“We came to this hearing to listen and I think we all realised we don’t want to place unnecessary restrictions on our rural community where common sense can resolve the issues.”
Councillors also opted to retain the status quo with the bylaw relating to beekeeping although it will be recommended that the Marlborough Beekeeping Association work more closely with the Council to ensure that ‘good neighbour’ responsibilities are understood and that the bylaw is amended to ensure that local hives are registered under the Biosecurity Act as is required by law.
“Once again, we think it’s an issue that can be resolved through more education rather than regulation,” said Councillor Shenfield.
Another amendment advocated by the councillors is to a bylaw change relating to animal numbers kept at residential properties; this should not apply to urban zoned blocks over 4000 sq.m they said.
Next week’s Council meeting will have an opportunity to discuss the report from the submissions hearing before making final decisions on the amended bylaws.