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Council Aims To Strike Right Balance For Off-leash Dog Areas

Story: Emma Harley | Photo: Paul Neil
Oct 29, 2018
Council aims to strike right balance for off-leash dog areas
The introduction of a dog off-leash area, in the northern bayside suburbs has been a hot issue in the community for many years. Deagon Ward Councillor, Jared Cassidy, says that although a final outcome is far from set in stone, he is confident a location will be found that suits dog owners while protecting the area’s bird life.

“Over the next six months or so Council will be working with the State Government, Birds Queensland and the Wader Study Group to discuss possible locations that could be included in a dog off-leash area trial,” he says.

“The considerations will be based on locations that do not disturb roosting or feeding wader birds with Shorncliffe, Sandgate and Brighton all being considered.”

The issue of a possible dog off-leash area is one that began in 2014, when a Sharing Shorelines group was set up by Councillor Victoria Newton, following a petition calling for the designated area.
The group consulted with a wide range of foreshore users including dog owners, the Queensland Wader Study Group and local residents, resulting in a submission to Council calling for the creation of two zones, with the area from 12th Avenue to Brighton Park the proposed off-leash area.

However, following that submission, a smaller petition, against the proposal, was started, which resulted in the Council rejecting the proposal in late 2015.

Cr Cassidy says he has continued to consult with the Queensland Wader Study Group, local residents, Council Officers and neighbouring councils since that time.

“I surveyed residents on the refining of the area to just the area in front of Brighton Park, which was supported by a large majority of respondents,” he says.

“I have discussed this issue at length with both Council officers and Councillor David McLachlan, chair of Council’s Parks Committee, and the consensus has been the need for a set of guidelines from the State Government to ensure the viability of a trial.”

Cr Cassidy says it is important to note that while Council has a very keen interest in the issue, there are more stakeholders involved. 

“The area is within a State Marine Park and is covered by a Federal Agreement (Ramsar), so ultimately a trial (and then ongoing use) would need to be approved by the State Government.”

He says that more work also needs to be done on bird-feeding areas at low tide, which will happen over the next few months, as part of the process.

“I believe we can find a location where people can take their dogs, while protecting the internationally important wader birds and I will keep the community updated throughout this process.”

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