Signs for the times
MAL SANDERSON believes all Australians have the right to express their opinions, so there was no way he was going to take down banners opposing the Repco Rally outside his home, despite threats from Kyogle Council to fine him $2000.
Mr Sanderson said on Tuesday a ranger from the council told him he would be fined because the signs were erected without an approved development application.
Yesterday Mr Sanderson won the right to sign-post his anger after Kyogle Council “clarified” their policy for signs on private land.
Kyogle Council's head of planning, John Hession, said council respected landowners' rights to put up signs for or against the rally.
“The erection of these signs without formal approval may place them at risk of litigation, should these signs be the cause of damage or injury,” Mr Hession said.
He said landowners needed to be sure the signs were secure and would not blow into the path of cars or reflect glare.
Mr Sanderson and his neighbours have put up 12 signs along 500 metres of Ghinnni Ghi Road - the only section of the rally route to be broadcast by fixed roadside cameras to an estimated TV audience of 50 million.
The signs hang from trees, are posted on fences and are even painted on the side of grain bins.
“These aren't just signs, they are a democratic protest,” Mr Sanderson said.
But Mr Sanderson is unhappy about Kyogle Council's first reaction to his protest.
He said a Kyogle Council ranger arrived in his normally quiet street on Tuesday and threatened to fine him more than $200 because his two dogs were on the road.
“The ability to express our discontent with public authority, though means like signs, is absolutely bedrock to our democracy,” he said.