Fence dispute calls for communication

July 26, 2017

I read with dismay the article on “Fence legal threat” in the July 18 - 24 issue of Country News.

Rules and laws are necessary for the best interests of our country and rules or laws found to be wrong need to be changed.

During my working life as a government official I had to administer particular laws and acts.

I found sitting down talking with people was by far the best way of resolving situations, with a bit of give and take on both sides resulting in an amicable outcome.

This does take more time than sticking doggedly to exactly the “official” line, which causes ill feeling and long-term lack of co-operation between the two parties.

A sense of power goes to the head of some local government officials (as well as state and Commonwealth officials) and they will wield this power whether it is the right or wrong thing to do.

This does not mean that someone who is blatantly doing the wrong thing and isn’t amenable to doing the right thing should not be penalised, as I often found that I had to do in my government job.

I would strongly suggest that the Strathbogie Shire Council and Mr Sloan meet on site and not go to legal extremes as this will cost rate payers and Mr Sloan heaps.

It certainly seems to me that there has been a real breakdown in communication, in many areas, not the least being the criteria of what clearance of material is permitted and needed for the fence to be replaced.

I find the statement claimed to have been made by Ms Saywell of the Euroa Environmental Group as being ridiculous, suggesting that Mr Sloan and others should move their fence lines a couple of metres inside their property line.

The farmers would lose a couple of metes of their grazing for starters, and over a period of many years would the couple of metres be claimed to be a public thoroughfare?

Would the farmer be responsible for trees on this couple of metres, and who would be liable for any damage caused by them? Would they be his responsibility or the shire’s or VicRoads’s?

This suggestion if implemented would be a legal minefield.

I certainly hope that this problem can be resolved with a win-win outcome.

— Rodney Champness, Mooroopna

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