Greater Shepparton City Council is considering capping the length of time a roadside memorial can stay in place at one year.By Darren Linton
A one-year time limit will apply to roadside memorials unless grieving families apply for a permit for a permanent tribute under a new policy being considered by Greater Shepparton City Council.
The council has not previously had a formal policy for memorials placed at the site of fatal crashes.
The draft policy, which will be considered at Tuesday’s council meeting, states any objection or complaint from nearby residents or from road users regarding any aspects of memorials, including the activity of visitors to the memorial, should be carefully considered and, if necessary, council will direct the memorial be relocated or removed.
In formulating the policy, council recognised some members of the community wished to mark the location of a fatal crash on the road network by the establishment of a roadside memorial, and said it would deal sensitively with requests, ‘‘but will not encourage their placement’’.
Memorials must be positioned so they do not distract drivers or interfere with any traffic control item and do not pose a hazard to passing traffic or prevent appropriate maintenance of the road reserve.
Applicants must also be made aware of possible risks in visiting roadside memorials and advised on safe practices.
Memorials must be constructed of material or installed in a way that will not cause injury if struck by a vehicle and, if it incorporates a plaque, it must be placed horizontally as close to the surface level as possible.
Maintenance would be the responsibility of the applicant and failure to do so may result in the memorial being removed.
The policy dictates a time limit of a year for temporary memorials and more permanent sites can only be erected with prior consent from council.
An officer’s report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting said roadside memorials had become more prevalent over the past decade.
While they provide a remembrance for loved ones and act as a reminder of the risks associated with road trauma, the report notes they can also present an unwanted reminder of an incident and an ongoing management issue for road authorities.
The report proposes council go through a public consultation process on the draft policy.
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