Tom Barker wants an area where people can walk their dogs along the beach without a leash; his dog Zita Belle is in total agreement.
Tom Barker wants an area where people can walk their dogs along the beach without a leash; his dog Zita Belle is in total agreement. Scottie Simmonds

Dogfight on the beaches

THE battle over off-leash exercise areas for dogs looks as though it will be fought on the beaches of the Bundaberg region, with one resident already talking about legal action.

Bundaberg Regional Council has called for submissions from the public over whether they want designated areas where dogs can be let off the leash for a run, with the closing date yesterday.

But at a meeting of the Bargara Progress Association on Wednesday night, which was described by president Ian Rowan as “passionate”, deep divisions between the opposing camps were exposed.

About 60 people turned up to discuss the matter at a meeting that went on for about two hours.

At the end of the meeting a vote was taken and Mr Rowan said the two areas mentioned as possible off-leash areas were Archie’s Beach and Rifle Range Beach.

Among those in favour of an off-leash area on the beach was Bargara resident Tom Barker, who was fined $100 about three months ago for letting his dog off the leash on Archie’s Beach.

He was so incensed he got up a petition, signed by 250 people, calling for off-leash areas to be established.

“I think that with the number of dog owners there are in the area, there should be somewhere where they can exercise their dogs,” he said.

Progress association treasurer Robyn McKinney said she was opposed to off-leash areas on the region’s beaches and would be happier if they were inland.

Backing her up is Michael Brochue, who said he felt letting dogs off their leads on the beaches would lead to an ecological disaster.

“If they designate that area, it will be a tragedy,” he said.

“If they do that, I’m going to try to put together a class action against the council.”

The council’s health and environmental services portfolio spokeswoman Mary Wilkinson said there had been a wide range of suggestions.

“A variety of spots were identified by residents, in both city and coastal areas between Moore Park Beach and Coonarr,” Cr Wilkinson said.

“People have also taken the opportunity to object to certain areas, and these will also form part of the report to council.”

Cr Wilkinson said all submissions would be reviewed by council officers and a report would be prepared.



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