Will Cap Coast get off-leash dog parks?
OFF-LEASH dog parks are a feature of many communities, but Livingstone Shire does not have any.
All that could be about to change.
The council will embark (pun intended) on a process to identify potential sites for such facilities.
This came about after Mayor Andy Ireland raised the matter at a recent council meeting, saying he had received a number of letters from the community requesting off-leash dog areas.
“We are all aware of the number of issues that occur on our beaches at the moment with dogs that are off-leash,” Cr Ireland said.
“We have times of the day set aside on our beaches when dogs can be off-leash.
“But life is what it is I guess, and certainly sometimes people let their dogs off their leash outside of those particular timed periods, and it has caused a little bit of angst within the community.
“So we wanted to attempt to alleviate some of that angst in the community and also to provide an area where dogs can enjoy themselves and owners can enjoy themselves.”
Cr Ireland said other councils had established off-leash dog areas that operated well and were of benefit to society.
“They’ve worked very successfully, and the reason they’ve worked successfully is because dog owners there have been responsible,” he said.
“It has also been a social gathering space where dog lovers get together and they just simply talk.”
Cr Andrea Friend supported the establishment of off-leash areas.
“When the dogs are on the beach they can cause havoc,” she said.
“That’s not saying that dogs should not be on the beach - of course they should, but in the given times.
“This (off-leash areas) will allow for a more relaxed environment for both the pets and their owners.”
Cr Pat Eastwood, while also supportive, said there was “a flip side.”
“We need to make sure that (at) our on-leash areas and our dog beaches, that the rules are complied to more heavily if we do have an off-leash area,” he said.
“One of the problems we have on our beaches, and I’ve witnessed this myself with a disabled son, is you go to a beach and you expect it to be dog free or people to have their dogs on a leash, and they don’t.
“It can cause a great amount of fear.”
Cr Nigel Hutton said in 2015 there was a petition carrying more than 700 signatures of residents who expressed a desire to see an off-leash area established.
“At that stage it was put into the 10-year forward capital program but as with all things over the course of time it never quite got to the year in which it was going to be built,” he said.
Council officers will prepare a report on the issue and that is expected to come back to the council table next month.