Great letter in the Sentinel-Times recently from Christopher Nagle, writing about the dog issue.
This issue just goes on and on, impacting so many people in different ways.
Just imagine a place where people can freely spend summer days with their dogs off-leash, on the beach, at any time of day.
Just imagine a place with a dog friendly council seeking to serve the needs of constituents?
Does this sound just a bit beyond the realms of reality? Well – remarkably, most of the beaches in St Kilda, in the City of Port Phillip, allow dogs off-leash, all day, all year round.
And the City of Port Phillip has several other such year round, off-leash beaches, from Webb Dock around the bay to the end of and including Elwood Beach.
Most of the remaining beaches in the City of Port Phillip impose time restrictions for access by dogs between November and March 30.
These time restrictions apply specifically to dogs off-leash.
Many of these beaches still allow dogs on-leash, onto the beach during the restricted hours.
During the winter months, from the end of March until the following summer, these other beaches revert to being fully off-leash.
Apart from the beaches there are at least 20 other off-leash dog parks within the confined area of City of Port Phillip.
You really have to laugh when you consider the freedom of access dogs have to these city beaches, compared with the prohibitions on access to the rural beaches of Bass Coast Shire.
St Kilda beaches seem to be in a distant faraway land.
And St Kilda does truly seem a long way away, for Bass Coast dwellers, to take their dogs to play on the beach.
However comparing it with Bass Coast’s only declared off-leash beach – Ventnor, at the furthest western tip of Phillip Island – travelling to St Kilda is more appealing and more accessible to most people.
Many dog-lovers would find it impossible to get themselves and their pets to St Kilda.
Bass Coast Shire Council can step in here and support its dog-loving constituents, by providing a regular courtesy bus, to transport dog lovers and their pets from Bass Coast to St Kilda beaches and back.
This gesture may well also persuade some dog owners to continue to spend summer holidays in Bass Coast.
Unfortunately, though, this solution would not support the needs of Christopher Nagle’s clients.
Lyn Whitlam, Glen Forbes.