Dog owners unleash on beach rules change
STRONG opposition to changes for a popular Coast dog off-leash area has come as a welcome surprise to regular walker Stephanie Wilson.
Miss Wilson, 24, doesn't want to have to restrain her dogs Zala and Scooby in a section of Warana beach that she has enjoyed as an off-leash area since she was a child.
Results of an online petition she launched about a fortnight ago show more than 3600 signatures agreeing with her.
Sunshine Coast Council is gathering feedback on making a section of beach between access points 239 and 235 an on-leash area.
The council's website said the proposal came after " a number of requests" from residents.
It effectively breaks in two an off-leash area that stretches from Buddina to Wurtulla.
"Council recognises the benefits of pet ownership and providing dog off-leash areas is a way it can support pet ownership," the website read.
"However, council also acknowledges a number of challenges associated with dog off-leash areas, which have been highlighted by both dog owners and non-dog owners."
Should the off-leash area at the Warana section be changed to an on-leash area?
This poll ended on 01 November 2017.
No, dog owners need that space to exercise their dogs.
Yes, the stretch should be an on-leash area so families can enjoy it.
A different area should be changed from off-leash to on-leash.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
It said issues included owners not picking up after their dogs and allowing their dogs to impose on other users as well inappropriate dogs such as restricted breeds or aggressive animals being brought to the off-leash areas.
Miss Wilson grew up in Warana and has since moved to Currimundi.
She still brings her dogs up to walk the Warana stretch.
"It's the greatest, longest walk," Miss Wilson said.
"The dogs just love it."
She said she had seen a few incidents of dogs being aggressive to other dogs but nothing major.
"Mine are quite well-trained so they don't run away."
She said she hadn't been unfortunate enough to step in any dog mess and most people tended to clean up after their animals.
"I find it very clean.
"We just want it left how it is for the length of it."
Miss Wilson was surprised by how many people signed her petition.
"I feel it is a very positive response for that, which I am happy about."
The council is accepting submissions for and against the proposed changes until Tuesday next week.
A council spokeswoman said several complaints had been received from beach users in the area about dog owners not taking responsibility and not having their dogs under effective management.
"Council is mindful that the beach is a space for everyone to share and enjoy, therefore feedback from the community is being sought on a suggestion to provide a small area where dogs are required to be on-leash, allowing all users of this beach to enjoy the space together," she said.
More information on how to submit feedback is at https://haveyoursay.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/suggested-changes-to-dog-off-leash-for-warana-and-bokarina-beaches#
Miss Wilson's petition is at https://www.change.org/p/sunshine-coast-council-stop-changes-to-dog-off-leash-area-warana-buddina.