Release of balloons at all Federation Council events and on council-owned or managed reserves are now banned, due to the negative impact balloons have on the environment.
“Whilst balloon release is not a major litter item in the Federation Council area, it does negatively impact on our environment,” Mr Gillard said.
Council was approached by Eurobodalla Shire Council to support its decision to ban the release of balloons at council events.
Although some balloons are made from a natural latex and marketed as environmentally friendly, these will still take months to break down and are known to harm or kill animals in marine environment or on land according to Eurobodalla Shire Council.
The Eurobodalla Council has stated balloons can travel long distances, with Eurobodalla beaches claiming balloons from as far away as Sydney, Victoria and the Riverina, with identification of logos from those areas.
“Federation Council’s proactive approach will contribute to the preservation of Federation and our surrounding natural environment,” Mr Gillard said.
Federation Council’s ‘no balloon release’ provision will be incorporated in council’s event guidelines.
Council’s Administrator Mike Eden agreed with a recommendation from General Manager Chris Gillard to ban the release of balloons at council’s monthly meeting on April 19.
“I endorse the recommendation but staff should look at other issues such as plastic waste. If we can do something to keep the plains and the Riverina area free of these materials, then well and good,” the Administrator said.
Council Local Reference Committee member Fiona Schirmer predicted a challenge for the policing of balloon release and suggested communication awareness, to which Mr Eden agreed.
“Awareness is what we’re after,” he said. “If people want to hold an event on council-owned land it will be made clear. If they break the law they will have trouble getting any future council approval.”
Local Reference Committee Daryl Davey enquired about costs and signage, particularly with holidaymakers.
Mr Gillard said prior approval is required before holidaymakers can conduct an event on council-owned land at which time council would state its policy.
Mr Eden added: “I’m sure landcare groups and other groups will be delighted. Council has to work with the community. Most people will do the right thing.
“It’s not a major issue but the community’s very sensitive about the environment. I don’t see the need for a ‘big stick’.”