Should dogs be allowed off-leash on beaches? There’s a 12 month trial in the works for Mona Vale Beach and Palm Beach to be off-leash areas for certain times of the day. What are your thoughts?

Northern Beaches Council will publicly exhibit a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the proposals for trial dog off-leash areas at Palm Beach (North) and Mona Vale Beach (South).

The draft REF was prepared as the next stage in the process to explore the potential for trial dog off-leash areas in these locations. Its purpose is to identify, analyse and evaluate the direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of the proposed activity in accordance with the relevant legislation.

The draft REF concludes that the activity is unlikely to have a significant impact on the environment, including threatened species and their habitats and ecological communities in these areas.

The draft REF contains mitigation measures in respect of the trial, including a requirement for dogs to be on-leash when using access points to the beach area. Exhibiting the draft REF will give the community an opportunity to have their say.  Further consultation will also be undertaken with relevant Government agencies.

CEO Ray Brownlee said Council is following the relevant legislative requirements, including new guidelines released by the Department of Planning and Environment.

“Our initial consultation with the community on the possibility of introducing these trial dog off-leash areas suggested that there is support for a 12-month trial to proceed,” Mr Brownlee said.

“However, some in the community raised concerns with issues like waste and water quality.”

“The draft REF looks at these and other factors such as biodiversity, noise, traffic, Aboriginal heritage and more. It concludes the activity is unlikely to have a significant impact on the environment and includes mitigation measures to address potential risks.

“Signage, dog waste collection bags, increased Ranger patrols and on-leash requirements at access points are some of the measures.

“I encourage anyone interested to review the document and provide your feedback,” Mr Brownlee said.

The proposal is for a 12-month off-leash trial at Palm Beach (North) and Mona Vale Beach (South) within the following times:

·     5.30am – 10am and 5pm – 9pm, every day (during daylight savings)

·     6am – 10am and 4pm – 7pm, every day (outside daylight savings)

Before a trial can proceed, Council may also have to take other steps such as amend or make Plans of Management for Palm and Mona Vale beaches. The input of relevant Government agencies will be sought in relation to these matters.

The draft REF will be on exhibition at Council’s Your Say hub in the coming weeks – keep an eye out for it here:

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