Council will hope a new draft policy to ban gas-filled balloons will end the confusion that has dogged this issue.
Council will hope a new draft policy to ban gas-filled balloons will end the confusion that has dogged this issue. Contributed

Balloon ban costs could rise to more than $100k

BANNING helium-filled balloons could cost ratepayers more than $100,000 in policing and awareness campaigns says a report going to Clarence Valley Council tomorrow.

A report from the general manager, Ashley Lindsay, revealed a budgetary implication of enforcing the balloon ban of $76,800.

And it also showed an option for a public awareness campaign promoting the new policy would cost $29,608.

The report also included a more modest awareness campaign, costed at $1500 a year, excluding staff costs.

The report seeks to end a period of confusion for the council as it sought to tackle the problem of the environmental danger of releasing balloons into the environment.

Through a number of twists the policy was pared down from all balloons to helium-filled ones and a draft policy went to the September council meeting.

Due to poor wording, such as omitting the proposal ban balloons in the report, council voted against accepting the draft policy and sent it back to council staff for reworking.

Today's report revealed actively enforcing the policy would come at a cost to the council, which would involve the purchase of a vehicle ($25,000) and more than $50,000 to cover running costs and staff time.

Councillors also have the option of choosing between two types of public awareness campaign.

One, which would piggy-back on the existing council waste and environmental awareness campaigns, came in at an additional $1500.

A purpose-built awareness campaign using traditional and social media content plus mailouts and other printed material would cost $29,608.

Introducing the balloon ban would also have impacts on other council policies including council-controlled markets, sports management and commercial recreational activites on public land.

It would also have an impact on the council's ability to place conditions on consent to functions and events, set terms and conditions for local cemeteries and put in place operating procedures at council-leased facilities.

The recommendations in the report advised councillors to adopt the draft policy for exhibition purposes, publicly exhibit the policy for 28 days and receive a report detailing the results of the exhibition.

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