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Damaged roadsides due to stock grazing seem to be indicating that a brush up on the Road Encroachment Bylaw is required.
Council staff have photographic evidence demonstrating examples of by-law misuse including pugged up drains, damaged water tables, over grazed and muddy banks, and temporary fences too close to the road.
And in another ‘no no’ horses and bulls have also been spotted grazing the long acre.
Farmers may graze a road frontage using temporary electric fences subject to certain conditions. Among them:
The purpose of the enclosure is to clear excess growth from the road reserve;
Stock are kept off unstable banks and out of drains and water tables and are grazed only during daylight hours;
Barbed wire and waratahs are not permitted;
The fence should be at least 1 metre clear of the formed road;
The council may without notice remove non-compliant fencing or fencing not removed on the completion of the grazing operation.
Estimated repair costs to damaged roadsides are between $5000 - $10,000 annually and are attended to within the council’s Road Maintenance Contract.
Only major abuse cases are paid for by the landowner – so far.
But the council may not be turning a blind eye for much longer manager Consultancy Ray Cannon warns.
If a person is prosecuted for by-law encroachment, the offence becomes a district court matter and if a conviction results that person can be liable for the cost of repairs.
But in a worse case scenario anyone convicted of damaging a drainage work is liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment for not more than three years or a fine not exceeding $20,000 – or both.
So while the council has been tolerant of ‘long acre’ grazing on the road reserve during winter months it may just be time to observe the by-law requirements.