Proposed changes to dog access rules

Council considered beach users’ feedback on proposed dog access rules on beaches between Connewarre and Collendina, referring the findings to the Barwon Coast Committee of Management (BCCM) for final endorsement.

The beaches
are managed by the BCCM, which proposed changes to dog control orders last
year.

Following feedback from 592 participants
during six weeks of community engagement, council is seeking endorsement from
the BCCM on the following changes to the original proposed dog access rules:

  • dog access times in the summer
    peak zones (16W-21W, 24W-27W and 34W-36W) are extended from 8:00pm to 8:00am to 7:00pm to 9:00am, which is
    consistent with other coastal dog orders adopted by the Great Ocean Road
    Coast Committee
  • dogs must be on a leash between
    Blue Rocks (42W) and 13th Beach (36W) when horses are present
    and are allowed off lead when horses are not present
  • dogs need to be on a lead at
    all times 75 metres either side of the 7W marker in Collendina, instead of
    the whole area between 7W and 8W and
  • dogs allowed on a leash at the
    Ocean Grove main beach (13W–16W) between 1 May to 30 November but are banned between 1 December to 30 April.

The seasonal
allowance of on-leash dogs at the Ocean Grove main beach, rather than a
year-round ban, resulted from a successful amendment.

The proposed
dog access rules aim to simplify dog zones for owners, enhance the enjoyment of
all beach users and provide safe and accessible beaches.

The
consultation process saw more dog owners provide feedback than those without
dogs. Both groups of people wanted improved sharing of these much-loved coastal
areas.

Some of the
themes from the consultation include that the hours of access are restrictive,
rules need to be simplified for dog owners, that people regularly fail to
control their dogs and that safety, beach users’ enjoyment and environmental
protection should be considered more.

Councillor Stephanie Asher – Mayor

The stretch of
coast between Connewarre and Collendina is a special place not just for
Bellarine Peninsula residents, but to visitors as well. Thirteenth Beach, Barwon
Heads and Ocean Grove are renowned for attracting people who are active and
fit; people who love the ocean and many people who have moved here for the
healthy lifestyle our surf beach coastline offers.

Dogs as
companions are an important feature of so many people’s lives and we warmly
welcome well-behaved and friendly dogs on our beaches and trails. We appreciate
that there are times when the beaches become too crowded for all users to share
positively, so we’ve focused on ensuring everyone has a time that they can
enjoy what is arguably our most iconic piece of public open space.

Thanks to
everyone who gave their feedback, which has helped to shape the new proposed
rules. We believe they now strike the right balance between the priorities of
dog owners and those who don’t own dogs. These orders will go to the BCCM for
final endorsement.

Councillor Trent Sullivan – Bellarine Ward

Dog access rules for beaches are often an emotive topic, but the
modifications we’ve made strike a balance between the preferences of both dog
owners and non-dog owners. The proposed rules aim to be simpler and easier to
follow.

I raised the amendment to allow on-leash dogs during the cooler
months at Ocean Grove main beach following strong feedback from the community
that a complete ban was too restrictive.

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