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Community input needed for off-leash areas

Community input needed for off-leash areas

Friday 4 January 2019

Bass Coast Shire Council is seeking community input on potential off-leash beach areas in San Remo, Cape Woolamai, Newhaven and Cowes.

Through an online survey, Council is hoping to identify the level of community support for off-leash areas in the following locations:

· San Remo - Foots Beach

· Newhaven - next to Phillip Island bridge

· Cleeland Bight (Cape Woolamai) - three options on the main beach

· Cowes - west of the Yacht Club

Currently, there are no off-leash beach areas in these locations, with the only off-leash beach area on Phillip Island located at Ventnor.

These potential locations provide the opportunity for fair and equitable use of the beaches, while considering amenity and the environment.

The community consultation process to develop Bass Coast Shire Council's Domestic Animal Management Plan 2017-2021 indicated support for more off-leash beach areas within the municipality.

During 2018, Council worked with Phillip Island Nature Parks and the San Remo Foreshore Committee of Management (SRFCOM) to identify potential off-leash dog walking areas in San Remo and on Phillip Island.

This collaborative process identified several potential locations on Council managed beaches, and one on a SRFCOM managed beach.

Phillip Island Nature Parks has undertaken a review of its regulations in relation to dogs and access to beaches, with three proposals arising from this review:

· Allowing dogs on-leash at Colonnades

· No dogs any time at Smiths Beach East

· No dogs any time west of Devon Avenue, Ventnor

Council and Nature Parks are now partnering to consult with the community on these  proposed off-leash locations and changes to current regulations. The consultation will also aim to gauge community support for providing 24/7 off-leash access at Ventnor. Council Officers and Nature Parks staff will be popping up on location at the proposed beaches during January to answer questions on the potential off-leash areas and to allow people to fill out hard copy surveys, ask questions and provide feedback.

An online survey will be available from Monday, 14 January at Results from the survey will inform recommendations for the formal designation of off-leash areas on the beach in San Remo and on Phillip Island.

Currently, dogs are allowed on-leash on the beach at San Remo, except between 10.00am and 6.00pm, from 1 December to 30 April. Dogs are allowed on-leash on some Council managed Phillip Island beaches, except between 8.00pm and 7.00am and 10.00am to 5.00pm, from 1 December to 30 April with the exception of Cowes Main Beach (Mussel Rocks to Erehwon Point) where dogs are prohibited at all times.

For more information or to get a hard copy survey mailed out, please contact the Community Safety Team on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.