At today’s Council meeting it was agreed that changes to the off-leash rules for dogs at Long Beach be considered over the next 28 days that would see a NO DOGS section clarified east of the toilet block and an off leash area to the west be be off leash for the purposes of exercising dogs.
Long Beach Community Association member Roger Middlebrook along with Diane Brooks both presented to Council’s Public forum advising Council that the Long Beach community were in need of clarity of the NO Dog area in the lead up for summer and that there was a need to have the western end off-leash without time constraints as the beach was tide affected. There was however a conflict of opinion between the recommendation they made and the motion that was on the table in regards to the location and because of that the result was that, as the community might be divided they would be given 28 days to make a submission regarding the preferred locality of the off-leash area. During debate Councillor Pollock offered that in his opinion it would be wrong to cherry pick out local solutions to dog controls prior to the full review of the Companion Animal Management Plan (CAMP) that will come before Council in April next year. “The basis of the CAMP is to reduce conflict. There is no doubt that the potential conflict is higher over the holiday period. Long Beach was reviewed and changes have to be made in a constructive and advised fashion. There is a behoving responsibility to make decisions for the while community and not make reactions to noise at particular times. Anthony Mayne offered his view that “ this is an important issue – we need to follow our natural level of community engagement and go through 28 days of submissions.” Councillor Pat McGinlay, having read the motion and heard the public speakers said ”I do agree I have misgivings of what is the support for the motion as it is. It makes me thinks there are divergent views – we are making exceptions of one particular beach in the community – and setting a precedent if we adopt it as it is. If we give it 28 days it wouldn’t be available until after summer.” Mayor Innes advised that she had had considerable discussion with those for and against – “whilst I understand Councillor Pollock’s concern of process – I would support this as it is viewed as a trial that could be rolled out more broadly – while there are concerns of precedents I think we can put this out for 28 days – the reason I am reticent to wait until the CAMP is that it would take a lot of time – the community have done a lot of work and I would support it and put it out for 28 days. “ She also advised that the process of the CAMP could take considerable time – possibly 12 months. In reference to not creating precedents the mayor offered “we have currently in front of us a report where we are doing exactly that – making a change before the CAMP is put out for review.” Clr Lindsay Brown pipped in with “regarding precedents I think it should be put on hold and all other beaches also be put up so that we can get submissions from the whole community. There is differing info coming from the Long Beach community – I can’t support it.” It was an interesting alert that was raised when Clr Tait said to Clr Maureen Nathan ”When Mr Middlebrook spoke he said that there was conflict with what Clr Nathan was putting up.” Clr Nathan responded “now we have new toilet block and seats it would be a good entry point – I am aware that there would be a need for dogs going to the off lead area would require people walking another 200m – and that there is confusion with the signs – I am also well aware as to common practice and what the community has done. Clr Tait then came back with “The proposal – are we voting on what you want or what they (the community) want.” It was here that we learn once again that Council change motions after they have published their agendas Clr Nathan “I believe what Mr Middlebrook was referring to was the motion on the website.” It turns out that the motion on the table was not the same one that Mr Middlebrook and Ms Brooks had been talking to. The Long Beach community can now look forward to making their submissions.