Pittwater Life April 2018 Issue

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Safety First: Reducing risk on Mona Vale Rd. We Will Remember: ANZAC Day. Tina Harrod: Island Life. 40 Years' Courtship: Careel Bay Tennis Club

Dog paddle

option urged

News

Dog owners group

Pittwater Unleashed

is calling on Northern

Beaches Council to focus

on a new dog swimming

option north of Bilgola as a

key deliverable in Council’s

new $400,000 four-year plan

to upgrade unleashed dog

exercise areas.

They say it’s the opportunity

for the new Council to make

good on an undertaking by the

former Pittwater Council to

find a replacement swimming

option following the closure of

Careel Bay in 2003.

And they point to Station

Beach on the Pittwater side of

Palm Beach – a rundown strip

where locals have for decades

run the gauntlet of potential

fines by letting their dogs

roam illegally offleash – as

being the perfect site, given it

was investigated as a trial site

10 years ago before the plan

was shelved on the back of

“bureaucratic misinformation”.

Pittwater Unleashed

spokesperson Mitch Geddes

said a Review of Environmental

Factors for Station Beach had

been commissioned before

Pittwater Council canned the

potential trial in 2014, when it

blamed the NSW Department of

Primary Industries (Fisheries)

for not supporting the idea.

However, a letter from

the Deputy Director DPIF to

former Council Administrator

Dick Persson in 2016 (seen by

Pittwater Life) reveals that the

department did not object to, or

stop, the trial.

Rather, it expressed a

willingness to assist Council

to obtain funding to upgrade

Station Beach, so any

ACTION ‘STATION’: Pittwater Unleashed want a trial at this Palm Beach strip.

POPULAR ONE-OFF: Dogs enjoy playtime next to Rowland Reserve, Bayview.

environmental conditions that

might otherwise stop the trial

from proceeding could be met.

“For people north of Avalon it

is a return trip of up to an hour

to take the dog to Rowland

Reserve at Bayview for a splash

on a hot day, even though you

might have the foreshore at the

end of your street,” Mr Geddes

said. “We say the issues can

be managed, provided there is

fairness and transparency.”

Pittwater Life asked Council’s

General Manager Environment

and Infrastructure Ben Taylor

whether Station Beach would

be reconsidered as an off-lead

swimming option.

Mr Taylor replied: “Council’s

four-year plan to guide

upgrades to its unleashed

dog exercise areas includes

options to spread the use

of high-demand, existing

unleashed dog areas using

a range of strategies. This

includes the promotion of

existing unleashed sites and

investigation of additional land

for unleashed dog areas.”

Meanwhile, Mr Taylor said

the Avalon Beach Reserve

offleash trial, scheduled

to run until July, had been

overwhelmingly supported by

residents.

“Council has received twice

as many positive than negative

responses,” he said.

But Pittwater Unleashed

remain unimpressed by the

selection of a section of Avalon

Beach Reserve for the trial.

“Mr Taylor implied the

Avalon dog park trial was in

response to requests from

the community – this is not

the case at all,” Mr Geddes

said. “We have an engaged

membership of more than 2000

and the selection of this space

took us by surprise.”

“It is a case of the tail

wagging the dog, where

someone in the back office

decides what the community

will have, rather than the

community driving the

process.”

Mayor Michael Regan said

Council’s four-year plan would

be developed by mid-year, with

draft integrated policy for dog

management and unleashed

dog exercise areas presented

to Council for consideration by

September. – Nigel Wall

6 APRIL 2018

The Local Voice Since 1991

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