APN

Banned from riding on own land

KYLIE THOMAS has learned the hard way that her Gradys Creek home, near Kyogle, is not her castle.

The dirt bike enthusiast has received an order from the Kyogle Council forbidding her family of five from riding motorcycles on their own land.

The order, known as a directive to take preventative action, was received by the family on January 25 this year.

The family are now only allowed to use motorcycles on their 148ha property for purposes directly related to agriculture, such as mustering cattle and fencing work.

Problems between the council and the family over their dirt bike riding on the property are long running.

Kyogle Council took the family to court for wrongful use of their site after a motorcycle track was discovered on the property by a council ranger.

Ms Thomas said the ‘so-called' track was actually a dirt pile, used to patch internal roads on the property, on which their children had been riding their motorcycles.

She claims the family won the court case.

However, Kyogle Council director of environmental and planning services John Hession refuted this, saying the matter was dismissed on a technical point.

“The council stands by our claim the use of the site was unlawful,” he said.

The family has faced the courts on two other occasions over noise complaints relating to dirt bike use on the property, in March and October of last year. The first matter was lost and the family pleaded guilty to the second.

Ms Thomas said the complaints about noise had come from neighbours with small holdings and the problem, as she understood it, was with the Protection of the Environment Operations Act because it failed to define what ‘offensive' noise was.

“All you need is one neighbour to say its offensive and that's it,” Ms Thomas said.

However, Mr Hession said the noise complaints, made my neighbours who lived very close to the site, were investigated and sound measurements were taken to verify the noise was offensive before the council took action.

The Thomas family has now joined forces with other Kyogle dirt bike riding families to form a community action group in order to have the legislation changed.

“We want them to set out parameters about what is offensive noise,” Ms Thomas said.


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