Cops rev up dirt bike operations

ILLEGAL dirt bike riders may be dodging more than trees after additional resources were made available to police their activities in the region’s State-owned forests, it was revealed at last night’s Kyogle Council meeting.

Councillor Lindsay Passfield tabled a delegates report from a meeting held this month with the council, Forests NSW, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Rural Fire Service about the increasing number of unlicensed and unregistered dirt bike riders using State-owned forests within the local government area.

Riding dirt bikes in the forests is not illegal, but riders must be licensed and on registered bikes.

Some issues created by dirt bike riders had been the cutting of stock fences, degradation of forestry roads, not sticking to roads and illegal camping in forests.

The result of the meeting was an action plan which will see two new 400cc dirt bikes purchased by NPWS for police use, $10,000 spent on training and equipment for police personnel, paid for by Forests NSW, and two extra police officers working in a special police squad.

Also on the agenda at last night’s meeting was a recommendation that council authorise staff to spend up to $10,000 to engage consultants to prepare reports required to progress a development application (DA) for a library addition, art gallery and museum.

Ballina Shire Council, undertaking a peer review of the DA for the purpose of transparency, requested additional information from the council about land contamination, heritage values and the impact on adjoining properties.

Cr Ross Brown spoke against the recommendation, stating one of his concerns was the cost. He suggested the council may be able to find another council, which would not require the additional information, to review the DA.

However, other councillors spoke in favour of the recommendation saying the assessment must be completed as soon as possible in order to be ready for a possible round of Government funding early next year. Its construction is estimated to cost $2.9 million. The recommendation was passed, with Cr Brown voting against it.

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