BASS Coast Shire Council’s been asked to review the recently introduced 24/7 dogs off-leash beach at Ventnor due to the “massive threat” to a hooded plover nesting site near Graydens Road.
A public question submitted to council’s June meeting suggested the boundaries and timing of the off-leash area, introduced in December 2019, should be reconsidered in order to improve the chances of next season’s hooded plover chicks fledging successfully.
If it was not possible to change the 24/7 off-leash access to the beach between Ventnor Beach Road and Graydens Road, the questioner, Meg Anderson, asked: “What measures will council put in place to increase compliance and reduce the impact of dogs off-leash in order to improve the survival chances of this important and vulnerable beach nesting bird’s population on the island?”
Shire CEO Ali Wastie said council would be gathering community feedback and continuing with its observations of dog owner and beach user behaviour at all current beach off-leash areas during the coming financial year, which is the last year of the current Domestic Animal Management Plan.
“This information will be used to help identify if current off-leash beach areas are meeting community expectations and reducing the impacts of dogs on beaches,” Ms Wastie said.
“This process will inform future activities associated with beach off-leash areas for consideration in the next Domestic Animal Management Plan.”
To improve native wildlife protection at the Ventnor off-leash beach, council had this year committed to conducting increased enforcement patrols when hooded plovers were nesting; distributing ongoing education and warnings outside of peak period and hooded plover breeding season; improving signage to ensure greater awareness of the impacts of dogs on beaches in sensitive locations; and increasing education and enforcement of rules for using the off-leash area, Ms Wastie said.