GRIEVING families could soon have to adhere to a set of strict new rules when erecting roadside memorials marking the tragic death of a loved one.
For the first time Wagga City Council is developing a formal policy designed to allow the placement of tributes while ensuring they do not pose a risk to drivers.
Under the draft policy, memorials must not be placed on roads carrying an average of more than 1000 vehicles a day, on sharp bends or on trees.
Furthermore, any tributes will need to be built with materials that will not cause injury if struck by a vehicle and must comply with size restrictions.
The council will need to be notified with a proposal covering the memorial type, materials, location, installation date and safety considerations for visitors.
Memorials in breach of the policy will be removed or relocated after the council reaches out to the owners, however, the policy would not apply to pre-existing roadside tributes.
Mayor Greg Conkey said the council has a duty to ensure any memorials do not create safety concerns for the city's road users.
"It is a difficult situation and we appreciate that people really want to put up those memorials and we respect those rights, but we need something written down as far as road safety is concerned," he said.
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Wagga driving instructor Glen Gaudron said any unusual objects placed on roadsides can create a distraction for drivers, but that regulations could reduce the level of distraction.
The decision to release the draft roadside memorial policy to the public, however, was not unanimously supported by the council.
Cr Rod Kendall, who voted against the recommendation, said a black and white policy will not deal with the initial raw emotion felt by friends and family following a tragedy.
He said the council needs to consider how it will respond "compassionately" with the families who might have recently lost a loved one.
"It doesn't matter what policy we put in place 25-odd thousand families will not read the policy and after a tragedy there will be a reaction to that tragedy," he said.
"I don't see anything in the policy showing how we are going to treat that ad hoc erection of a memorial in immediate reaction to a tragedy and how we are going to deal with it compassionately."
Cr Paul Funnell said losing a loved one is "a horrendous moment" in people's lives and the council should deal with roadside memorials on a case-by-case basis.
Wagga City Council does not have a current policy regarding roadside memorials. The proposal came in response to a formal request by a family to put a memorial for their son at an intersection in Wagga.
The proposed rules apply to memorials on roadsides and in public spaces under the council's care and control. The policy would not apply to the Olympic, Hume or Sturt highways.
Council has invited the community to lodge submissions until November 26