A plan to ban dogs, scooters and skateboards from Port Fairy's main street is in community hands after councillors narrowly agreed to seek public feedback.
But three councillors spoke strongly against the proposal, labelling it "ridiculous" and "really misguided" after community concern had already gathered pace before Tuesday's council meeting.
Moyne Shire Council will seek feedback on the plan to amend a local law, potentially banning dogs and "toy vehicles" from Sackville Street between Bank and Cox Streets from 9am to 6pm on Christmas Eve to Easter Monday each year.
The ban could also extend to Bank Street between Princes and James streets.
Cr James Purcell, a dog owner with grandchildren, had pushed for a review of dog restrictions in April and said he was concerned about safety.
"If I have a choice of having a dog up the street or having one of my grandchildren hurt by an animal I know which I am going to go for," he said.
Trev Greenberger, the council's infrastructure and environment director, told the meeting that officers had bundled the issue with a possible ban on scooters, skateboards and roller blades too, based on similar community concerns.
"We are also taking the opportunity to address an issue raised in the community particularly about toy vehicles," he said.
"They are separate; people can support one, and or the other."
But councillors Jordan Lockett, Karen Foster and Ian Smith opposed the plan, raising concerns about restricting rights and harming the town's reputation.
"It's about changing a local law which would inhibit people's ability to do something they have done for generations," Cr Lockett said, displaying a pink scooter as a prop while speaking remotely from home.
"We are in the midst of a pandemic where our fundamental rights have been taken away, for our own public safety ... what a time to consider taking away children's, grandchildren's right to go on a scooter."
He suggested there were less restrictive ways to improve safety in the main street.
Cr Ian Smith said the plan sent out a message that Port Fairy was "anti-dogs and anti-kids".
Cr Foster pointed to Port Fairy's proud history of dachshund dash and sheep dog events, and that there were more than 100 "pet friendly" holiday rentals in Moyne.
"I don't see why we should punish the vast majority for the behaviour of a slim minority," she said.
But Cr Daniel Meade did not believe seeking feedback would damage the council's reputation.
"I am keen to hear from the public and also tourists," he said.
Cr Damian Gleeson said the council was acting on serious complaints from earlier in the year.
"We don't sit around the office and just come up with ideas to agitate our constituents," he said.
"This was raised with us."
Cr Jim Doukas also supported seeking feedback on amending the local law.
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