In fact, the council meeting papers for this Wednesday night’s meeting at Cowes recommend that council stick to its guns and reinforce the day-long ban.
Here are the options they’ll consider and the recommedation below:
(1) One option is to leave the times that were put in place in October unchanged until the review has been completed. This would allow a reasonable time to assess the impact of these time restrictions.
(2) Another option is to change the times so that they are consistent with those in place on other beaches under the control of Bass Coast Shire Council. These time restrictions are between 10am and 5pm and 8pm and 7am, and apply from 1 December to 30 April each year.
(3) Another option is to change the times so that they are consistent with the times operating in other areas of Inverloch that are under the control of Parks Victoria. This would mean a time restriction from 1 December to 14 April each year from 9am to 6pm.
Options 2 and 3 provide for easier education of the public as they are consistent with other beaches, whereas the 8 until 8 option that was introduced in October is more restrictive than times in other areas of the Shire.
(4) Another option would be to have no time restrictions in place, provided that dogs are on a lead at all times, other than when they are in designated off leash areas. There are however community members who prefer not to have dogs on the beach when it is busier, and the time restrictions are a fairer way of sharing a valued resource.
The recommendation is to maintain the restrictions as per the initial Council Resolution to enable the trial period to run its course. All feedback, positive and negative, is being logged and will contribute to the evaluation at the end of the trial. This will be reported to Council in May 2014.
While there are still dog walkers who would prefer there to be no restrictions, it is reasonable to trial this arrangement and undertake an evaluation after summer. This enables those people who do not wish to have dogs on beaches at particular times to have input into a decision about future arrangements. Recommendations:
1. Does not change the order under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 that dogs are not permitted on any of the Inverloch beaches under the management of Bass Coast Shire Council as follows:- Between 1 December to 30 April each year (inclusive) – between the hours of 8:00 am and 8.00 pm.
2. Review the times that dogs are allowed on beaches by May 2014.