There is an ongoing struggle in the Yass Valley between primary producers getting on with business and families next door on large, ‘lifestyle’ blocks, wanting their peace and quiet.
Bird scaring devices used by vineyards in the region again came under the spotlight at the latest council meeting, with councillors deciding to put an updated policy on public exhibition.
Several grape growers who use these devices to protect their crops addressed council, worried the restrictions could put the whole industry in jeopardy.
Vineyard owner Jenny Fischer said the submissions she had read involved breaches of the current policy and didn’t seek to adapt the old one.
She said she would like to see council keep the existing policy.
A report tabled at last week’s meeting states council receives a number of complaints during the grape harvest season about the noise of some bird scaring devices.
“The main issue raised by complainants in relation to the use of the devices is the loud bangs which are a constant irritation for people living on nearby properties,” the report says.
“This is particularly the case in and around Murrumbateman.”
Another vineyard owner, Dennis Hart, told council the restriction to have devices more than 500 metres from any complainant’s house would put him out of business.
“No part of our vineyard is 500 metres from residents,” he said.
Councillor Cecil Burgess didn’t want a new policy to go on public exhibition. He moved a motion to continue to work under the policy accepted earlier this year.
That motion was lost and councillors decided to put the updated policy on public exhibition.
“I think it’s worth noting that council’s trying to find a solution to this problem.” Cr Needham, who moved the motion, said.
He said whatever decision was reached it needed to be something that could be measured and enforced.
“The whole thing’s a nightmare,” council’s director of operations Paul De Szell said at the meeting.
“It’s one of the most difficult issues to deal with.”
He said people on both sides of the issue had such strong views and it was almost impossible to keep everyone happy.
He said if council didn’t have a policy in place they would have to defer back to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) guidelines.
Mr De Szell said the EPA restrictions were far harsher than anything council had developed.
The policy is on public exhibition until Friday September 14.