Dogs banned from three beaches

BASS Coast Shire Council has banned dogs from three areas of Inverloch beach during summer daytimes, in spite of the fact its Domestic Animal Management Advisory Committee (DAMAC) recommended only two no dog areas.
Council advised council officers had chosen to deviate from DAMAC’s recommendations.
“Final officer recommendations are based on the community recommendations and DAMAC’s advice, and have also, where necessary, incorporated some changes from these recommendations in order to fully consider the needs of all users and the amenity, environmental issues and safety concerns,” council’s infrastructure maintenance manager Jamie Sutherland said.
Following the decision, furious dog owner advocates stormed out of Wednesday’s council meeting in Wonthaggi and banged on the outside of the building.
“Council just needs to wait for the backlash!” one shouted.
The people only areas are between Screw Creek and Cuttriss Street; from Wreck Creek to Wave Street; and Pensioner’s Point, and the rule operates from 9am to 6pm from December 1 to February 28 inclusive, and state government school holidays between the first and second term, including Easter public holidays.
Cr Crugnale said the decision should be reviewed every year since the sand is moving and people change where they congregate.
All dogs are to be on a leash unless in a designated off leash area; the off leash area from Cuttriss Street to Grandview Grove is to remain; council will work with DAMAC to identify possible alternatives for a second off leash beach area, perhaps on the western side of Point Norman; council will investigate the establishment of an inland dog park; and council will improve communication strategies, signage, brochures and enforcement and investigate the provision of dog poo bags and additional bins.
Stephen Fullarton of Cowes said the money council spent consulting the community had been wasted.
“Council has just spent $50,000 going through place based consultation.
“Forty people who represent the broader community of Inverloch attended the workshops,” he said.
“On DAMAC, only three people properly know Inverloch.
“How does a council officer know better than 40 people who know Inverloch and represent the community?”
Members of DAMAC objecting to council’s decision are said to be considering boycotting the next meeting.
Dom Brusamarello said “a considered response is being developed, however it is disappointing councillors chose to support an “amended” motion that “again” had not been communicated to DAMAC or presented at any of the Place Based Community consultation forums held in Inverloch.”
New Bass Coast mayor Cr Kimberley Brown said the recommendation is the result of extensive community consultation.
“The community is to be congratulated for its participation in the process,” Cr Brown said.
“I’d like to thank all workshop attendees for the valuable and respectful exchange of diverse opinions.
“Almost 200 people attended a public meeting, with 40 to 50 people attending each of the three open sessions that followed.”
Cr Brown said council had come to a final decision on dog controls on Inverloch beaches after seriously considering the fair and equitable use of beaches by all users while taking into account amenity, environmental issues and safety concerns.
“We took into consideration a wide range of factors and information, a significant part being the information provided by the community consultation sessions and from DAMAC, and referred back to our original aim to come to a decision,” Cr Brown said.
“Given the time frames, the changes may not be in place as of 1 December, but we will be working to get all the changes implemented as soon as possible.”
Mr Sutherland said changes to DAMAC’s recommendations took into account “the most popular areas of beach in summer and the other areas available to dogs”.
Cr Jordan Crugnale felt council’s decision was a successful compromise gathering in all viewpoints on the issue.
“Everyone gets a little bit of something,” she said.
“Everyone has been considered.
“I think council has been very responsible in adding a third time shared area.”
The area near Abbott Street will no longer be an off leash area.
Council cited environmental concerns and exposed rocks as reasons for requiring dogs to be leashed in that area.
For environmental reasons, no dogs will be permitted at any time from Screw Creek to the beach entrance opposite the Broadbeach Access Track effective from 1 December 2014.
“Screw Creek is very biodiverse,” Cr Crugnale said.
She said the presence and behaviour of dogs is incompatible with the wellbeing of many wading birds.
“A lot of dogs leave their scent.
“Dog faeces can carry parasites.
“It’s the last area in Inverloch in this kind of scale.”
Cr Andrew Phillips reminded the gallery the question posed through the community consultation and engagement process was, “how do we allow for the fair and equitable use of our beaches by all users while taking into account amenity, environmental issues and safety concerns?”
“I think this goes a long way to achieving that,” he said.
Cr Bradley Drew agreed.
“I think it’s a good outcome for everybody,” he said.
Former mayor Cr Neil Rankine, chair of DAMAC, supported council’s decision.
“I can see it will work,” he said.
“I think there’s not too much deviation from what DAMAC and the community came back to us with.”
Of the councillors, only Cr Clare Le Serve spoke against the motion and declined to vote for it.
She said council should adhere to the results of community consultation.
“We shouldn’t alter that,” she said.
“My objection is to changing the dates and changing any times.”

Be responsible: dog walkers Sylvia Heath, left, and Kiersten Allen, both of Leongatha, take dogs to Inverloch beaches regularly and say more dog owners should pick up after their dogs.

Be responsible: dog walkers Sylvia Heath, left, and Kiersten Allen, both of Leongatha, take dogs to Inverloch beaches regularly and say more dog owners should pick up after their dogs.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=12792

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