Protecting public land from encroachment
Following concerns in the community about encroachment of private landholders onto public land, Bass Coast Shire Council has been successfully reclaiming land over the past five years.
Encroachment usually occurs when private landholders intrude into a neighbouring public reserve, such as Crown Land foreshores and Council owned bushland reserves. Council has the power under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 and its Local Laws to take action and apply fines
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Jordan Crugnale, said the moving into public land has a series of negative impacts such as loss of public land, environmental damage, spread of weeds, and potential issues around public safety, and was actually illegal.
“We are currently working with landholders to resolve over 20 identified encroachment issues prioritising works in the higher public and environmental risks category,” Cr Crugnale said.
Encroachment takes many forms including innocent lawn extensions which can easily be addressed with education, weed control and revegetation with native species.
Others can be more serious, such as fire pits, construction and storage of hazardous chemicals; these can pose a threat to both the reserve itself and the community adjacent to the reserve.
Another form is the erection of structures such as sheds, bungalows and fencing, which can be costly both for Council and the landholder to rectify.
“Council is continuing to identify landowners encroaching on public land and asks for their full cooperation to resolve these issues,” Cr Crugnale said.
"Please also make contact with Council directly if you have knowingly moved into public land. Also, we have had reports of people dumping their lawn clippings and green waste onto public land and reserves adjacent to their homes. This is a littering offence with obvious weed spreading implications.”
More information can be found on Council’s website at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/encroachment, or by contacting Council’s Natural Resources Officer, David Martin, on 1300 BCOAST (226 278), (03) 5671 2211, or firstname.lastname@example.org.