NEW dog off-leash beach areas, including a 24-hour off-leash beach, will be introduced in Bass Coast from December 2019, in time for the coming summer season.

Bass Coast Shire Council made the decision at its ordinary meeting last week following community consultation earlier this year which highlighted overwhelming support for off-leash beach areas in San Remo, Cape Woolamai, Cowes West and Newhaven, and for the provision of 24/7 off-leash beach access at Ventnor.

The new off-leash beach area in San Remo is on Foots Beach, accessible from the end of Back Beach Road through Lions Park.

Dogs can be walked off-leash in the designated area, except between 10am and 6pm from December 1 to February 28 and during the Easter school holidays when no dogs are allowed on the beach.

At Cape Woolamai, the new off-leash area is located from the Palm Beach Avenue access track, 350 metres south to the Southport Avenue access track.

Dogs can be walked off-leash in the designated area, except between December 1 to April 30, when dogs are only allowed on the beach between 7am and 10am, and 5pm and 8pm.

At Cowes West, the new off-leash area is located between the Yacht Club access track and the McKenzie Road access track.

Dogs can be walked off-leash in the designated area, except between December 1 and April 30, when dogs are only allowed on the beach between 7am and 10am, and 5pm and 8pm.

From December 1, 2019, the existing Ventnor off-leash area, between the Ventnor Beach Road and Graydens Road, will be available throughout the whole year with no time restrictions.

An additional requirement for dog owners using these new off-leash areas will mean that they must be able to bring their dog under “effective control” within 50 metres of a signed threatened species wildlife refuge area.

According to council, this requirement will allow for Hooded Plover nesting sites to be supported in the future should they nest within a designated off-leash area.

New signage will be installed at the beach access points and on the beach, identifying the new off-leash areas.

Bass Coast Shire Council’s website has also been updated to reflect the new off-leash areas and regulations.

Further community consultation will be completed over the next 12 months to identify potential off-leash beach areas in Cowes East and Rhyll.

Two new off-leash areas proposed for Newhaven during initial consultations have been ruled out due to concerns for nesting and feeding shore birds.

For more information on off-leash beach areas, visit basscoast.vic.gov.au/dogwalking.