Dog owners call for timed off-leash zones on Tweed Coast
DOG owners on the Tweed Coast are urging the council to trial a shared beach policy allowing dogs to go off-leash at designated hours as a solution to the ongoing question over off-leash dog areas.
Mark Grunwald is spearheading the Paws for a Cause campaign whereby Casuarina and Salt residents are lobbying Tweed Shire Council for the right to retain their ability to play with their dogs on the beach.
The campaign follows a decision by councillors at the most recent meeting to defer a decision on reducing dog off-leash areas and "go back to the drawing board" after outrage from the community over plans to reduce 1240 metres of off-leash dog areas along the coast.
The plan was part of recommendations made in the council's draft Open Space Strategy, which planned to limit off-leash areas along beaches in Kingscliff, Fingal Head, Cabarita and Pottsville.
But councillors voted to defer the item following overwhelming protest from residents.
Mr Grunwald said Paws for a Cause had already written to councillors and lodged a petition supported by 650 residents, proposing the idea to share the beach with residents, dogs and wildlife.
He said the shared beach policy had already been adopted by nine councils in Australia, including Byron Shire, and allows four hours per day of off-leash time for dogs, from 6-8am and from 4-6pm, with a strict code of conduct.
The remaining 20 hours of the day would be on-leash, while wildlife would be protected through strict supervision and strict off-limits for dunal areas.
"There is a very strong support base here for the ability to play with our dogs on the beach," Mr Grunwald said.
"It can be done but does need care, consideration and a very strict code of conduct."
Paws for a Cause is calling for a 12-month trial of the idea.