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Coopers Island Road update

Following the approval for an unlocked gate to be allowed across the public road that is Coopers Island Road the Eurobodalla Council have now advised that they will be removing the existing cattle grid and resealing over it. The cattle grid, placed at the entrance to Coopers Island Road, was installed by the previous owners more than four decades ago and served as a preventative measure in the event of a cow breaking free from the herd as it was moved, via the Coopers Island Road, from one paddock to another. It is mandatory, when moving stock along any public road reserve that they are supervised at all times. In over forty years the previous owners of Coopers Island farm had not a single issue of a cow breaching this cattle grid. This was primarily due to the fact that the road was fenced on both sides and that cattle were not allowed to freely graze unsupervised in the road reserve. Following an alleged 'escape' of a cow who it is claimed jumped the cattle grid council staff, gave permission for a gate to be erected across the road way. The gate would then act as a barrier between any escaping cow and the last bastion of the cattle grid before it ventured onto the highway. The gate has been a bone of contention for over two years with the public who suggest all that was required was to clean out the old (and functioning cattle grid, replace a section of fencing along the northern side of Coopers Island Road that had been removed and STOP the cows from grazing without supervision on the public road reserve. The community advised the Council of their wish not to have a gate across the road however, Council, under the guidance of staff, decided (not a unanimous vote) instead to allow the gate to remain on the proviso that it remain unlocked as a Public Gate. One of the requirements set in place as a result of the issue was that Council establish a Cattle Grid standard. While that standard has not been developed or endorsed it is understood that the old cattle grid, located on the Princes Highway intersection with Coopers Island Road, is to be removed as staff have determined it was "not to standard". Of interest is the letter sent by Council this week advising a local resident that Council is removing the old cattle grid and resealing over. What has not been conveyed to the resident is that the owner of the farm that is serviced by Coopers Island Road has been given permission to install a cattle grid. What is not known is the location of the new cattle grid to be installed. Given that there is a call for Council to develop and submit for approval a Cattle Grid standard and policy it appears as though staff have put the cart before the horse and are acting under their own authority whilst Councillors are in caretaker mode.

Above: Why wouldn't the Council mention that the farm owner was given permission to install a new cattle grid? Why wouldn't they explain that the removal of the old was conditionally reliant on the installation of the new? And why weren't the councillors advised of any of this given they are still councillors until December 4th? It is understood that the new grid will be installed on the Coopers Island side of the Public Gate. That being the case the question to be asked will be "If there is a cattle grid, built to standard and maintained to standard, then why should the Public Gate remain. The other question to be asked is why Council staff are pushing this through given that they have been made aware that the Coopers Island Road Public Gate is "unfinished" business and is set to be one of the first community issues to be looked at in the new Council term. Will Council remove the old cattle grid ONLY after the proposed one is installed? If they don't then the only thing that will prevent wandering stock onto the highway will be an unlocked gate and the hope that the community are responsible in closing it properly.

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