THREE Wodonga councillors who supported a ban on circuses with exotic animals on city land are now backtracking on the decision.
On Wednesday afternoon, Kat Bennett lodged a rescission motion to annul the policy made on Monday night “that council-owned land not be available for hire by circuses and carnivals that involve the performance and display of exotic animals”.
As required under council rules, such a motion requires a minimum of three signatories and councillors Danny Lowe and Libby Hall supported Cr Bennett’s move.
It will be on the agenda of the council’s December meeting and follows concern over the application of the terms “exotic animals” and “carnival”.
Councillor Ron Mildren said Monday night’s resolution would snare the petting zoo at Wodonga’s annual children’s fair, horse racing and the pro rodeo held on Gateway Island.
“There is no wriggle room, it’s black and white, the words used in the resolution are very clear,” he said.
Councillors relied on definitions of “circus” and “exotic animal” from online reference website Wikipedia in considering a report about a ban on Monday night.
Cr Bennett said “there shouldn’t have been a Wikipedia definition, if I was at university I could not put in a Wikipedia reference”.
She said the intent was not to entangle petting zoos, rodeos or racing.
In her rescission motion, which suspends the implementation of Monday night’s resolution, Cr Bennett outlines a new motion to be debated at the December meeting.
It involves the council chief executive preparing a new report on council land and circuses and carnivals and addressing three key points.
They are: “definitions of key terms, including but not limited to, circuses and carnivals, and exotic animals; the scope of council owned land and crown land that may be impacted by any hire restriction and whether any restriction should involve the use of council land rather than hire of council land”.
A February deadline has been set for the report.
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