It’s amazing how many people can attend the same meeting and yet hear vastly different things.
I attended the Dogs on Inverloch Beach forum at Inverloch hub on September 22.
The people most deeply affected by the bans, and also able to attend the forum, raised the following points, among many others:
• What was the initial driver of the introduction of five months of daily banning of dogs?
That question was never adequately publicly answered.
• All the money spent on this issue could have been better spent. Some people asked for a rates reduction.
In response, the CEO agreed to release total cost figures and has begun to do so.
• All dogs need off leash time and many people agree that on-leash, during a one to two month height of season, is reasonable.
Others see this as unnecessary, but are open to compromise.
• Dog poo and human waste of all sorts is an issue.
Bag dispensers will largely solve the dog part of this problem. Many people recognise that dog poo at least left on the beach, is becoming far less frequent.
• Dog owners are the first to say “bring on the enforcements; hit the pockets hard!”
Before ramping up fines and enforcements, perhaps both sides of the community need to see all the stats collected by rangers on the enormous problem of dangerous dogs let loose on Inverloch beaches, biting semi-naked people.
We are not talking lions and tigers here – and people can and do respond very well to opportunity, devoid of the big stick hanging over them. Ocean Grove, west of Melbourne, offers miles of beaches free to dogs all year round with poo bags provided. People are so appreciative they self-regulate.
What I heard at the forum was the ongoing distress of people of all ages, desperate to reverse punitive restrictions which impact on their lives and families.
Sadly, for some, that distress has been more than significant, including perhaps, for Inverloch’s council representative.
Perhaps it’s time to put this aside; to live and let live – including supporting the quality of life for our dogs and the rest of our families. I for one am not able to live through another summer in Inverloch unable to access the very thing Inverloch offers: beautiful – albeit shrinking, beaches.
Bayside Council has just removed all restrictions on dogs (including the necessity for a leash) for 12 months of the year, 24/7, over a kilometre of beach from Beaumaris to Mentone.
Even the Canberra ‘Floriade’ has opened its gates inviting people to bring dogs next year in recognition that dogs are not to be just “left behind”.
There may have also been an economic incentive hidden in this last example!
K Chugg, Inverloch.
Same meeting, different ideas