AFTER reports of flight restrictions of drones in the City of Ballarat made headlines last week, Cr Mark Harris and Cr Daniel Moloney, the two councilors who voted against the motion, explain how it came about and what it means for drone operators.
Deputy Mayor Cr Moloney said in fairness the local laws were not just about the drones.
“There were some late amendments by a couple of the councillors in terms of changing some of the residential zoning around animals, which we weren’t exactly comfortable with, making changes on the run,” he said.
“We spent a few hours each going through a lot of the draft laws before they went in last Wednesday night.
“This one didn’t really come up as a significant issue; no one really raised it as an issue. There were a lot of discussions about animals but next to nothing about drones themselves.” Cr Moloney explained that council has assured councillors there is no intention on cracking down on any recreational drone use.
“Its’ all about being safe and applying the CASA rules,” Cr Moloney said.
“I guess I’ve got a bit of a concern that maybe those rules, as they are being written right now, might be a little bit too blunt and potentially do get in the way of kids being able to take a drone into a local park – that’s not the intention of officers it’s to make sure there weren’t multiple drones infringing on events such as White Night , Begonia Festival or over the rowing at the Lake and those type of events.” Cr Moloney added that the officers were currently in talks with the industry.
Cr Harris said there are two groups of drone users – commercial groups and recreational users.
“You don’t want necessarily multiple drones over council events or drones over your kids playing football or whatever. There has to be some logical control and that is what part of this process is,” he said.
“As far as council is concerned it’s about safety. There has to be some sort of control so this is the start of it but there will be reccommodations – a bit like dogs off leashes in allocated parks.” Deputy Mayor Cr Daniel Moloney added that there may be a potential option in rewording of that part of the local law.
“It’s quite clear that its specifically about events and not necessarily about other areas but they are at least two of the options being looked at the moment,” he said.
“Also the understanding is that the officers are not in any way intending to crack down over the Christmas New Year period on people using drones in local parks but it will be an issue at bigger events but until they get through their consultation there will be no crackdown.” Cr Harris explained their vote, “We voted against the fact that at the last hurdle there were some changes with some of the rural living zones and proportional amount of carriage of livestock scaled down, while it might be a reasonable way to go, rather than objective numbers it did seem an unusual addition, so that’s why we voted against and the drone stuff was aside.” “Commercial operators can seek broader permits and they are encouraged to get in touch with council to figure that out. There might be some exclusion around some events but there is potential for areas to be set aside for recreational users,” Cr Moloney concluded.
Drones love them or hate them, they are here
Editorial: Alan Marini
PETER FitzSimons gave his fiery speech, banging his fist onto the podium, about the injustice of what the establishment had done to the miners back in the early days of discovery of gold in Ballarat, and how the miners fought back, just a few weeks ago.
Maybe something got lost in the translation of what the miners at Eureka Stockade were fighting for. People tell the story or how they perceive it, but democracy is the end result.
Last week Council held their meeting but what came out of that for the unmanned aircraft operators, (drone owners) in the district, was nothing short of disastrous for the hobbyist, enthusiast and professional users.
No actual document has been released by Council as to what the new rules are but one was mentioned, that you may not fly in any space owned by the City of Ballarat and must be 100 metres from any monument or building.
We can now say that Ballarat is a no fly zone for drone operators.
The Mayor was quoted that she voted this way to protect the public. As far as we are aware no person in this country has been injured or killed by an unmanned aircraft.
In Australia we have the most stringent flying laws in the world, laid out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Nearly all serious operators are registered with that body.
So give these operators a chance to have a say in all this, show how democracy works, or did Peter Lalor lose his arm for nothing? Leaders in this country are always banging on about thinking smarter but does anyone ever think of that when they make a decision? Drones are becoming a part of our everyday life and are right up there with the I phone.
Australia Post is working on how to utilize them, Pizza companies and of course the Real Estate companies and too many others to mention.
Our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that the Government expects to pour billions into technology, starting with missiles, which will trickle down to the drones and maybe they will be fighting our wars instead of humans (wouldn’t that be good).
The point is don’t throw away the baby with the bath water, encourage people to use technology, it is the future.
It would be remiss of me not to mention drones in this publication, as the Miner uses drones to enhance our pictorial input.
We are also documenting the City of Ballarat in a way that has never been done before, we are excited about bringing this to our readers in the future.