Consistent dog orders for Ocean Grove and Barwon Coast

Following careful consideration of community feedback, the City of Greater Geelong Council has resolved to progress ongoing orders for a dog-free area at Ocean Grove Main Beach.

Council resolved to adopt the dog-free area as trialled in year two, while also further simplifying and improving the dog control orders.

Outside of the dog-free area on Main Beach, the summer season will be reduced by two months to increase opportunities for dog-walking on other areas of beach managed by the Barwon Coast Committee of Management.

The streamlined summer period of 1 December to 28/9 February, inclusive of Easter, also aligns with regulations of adjoining coastal jurisdictions. Signage will also be improved on site.

In response to feedback in Year 1 of the trial, the City has employed two additional Animal Management Officers to support monitoring and enforcement of ongoing Orders in all coastal areas across the municipality.

The dog free area is between 13W Hodgson St beach access stairs and the western end of Main Beach promenade. This accounts for approximately 805 metres of beach.

In total, 1,976 people have provided feedback on the trial, with 1,139 people responding in year one and 837 in year two. Seventy-six per cent of respondents in both years were dog owners and prefer lesser restraint on dogs than non-dog owners.

There were 111 responses to the year two survey in support of dog prohibition, indicating that people have a right to enjoy the beach without dogs present, citing previous negative encounters with dogs, safety concerns (especially for children) and fear of dogs.

Feedback in year two indicates that 28 per cent of respondents would prefer no dogs allowed on Main Beach year-round; 27 per cent prefer dogs on leash on Main Beach during winter period; 44 per cent prefer dogs off leash during winter period.

The new Dog Orders will now be referred to the Barwon Coast Committee of Management for final approval.

Mayor Trent Sullivan

Feedback on the trial showed that dogs are important for health and wellbeing and equally, the presence of dogs can negatively impact beach experiences for some people. We hope we have struck the right balance between people who enjoy walking their dog on the beach, and people want to enjoy a section of the beach that is dog-free.

Councillor Stephanie Asher

These simplified and streamlined orders reflect what people tell me all the time when I am at the beach – the rules should be clearer, simpler and the seasonal dog ban period reduced to December through to end February, to align with the rules at Surf Coast and other beaches.

And these orders also provide the dog-free section of the Main Beach for those people preferring not to come across dogs at the beach at any time of year. It is impossible to please all of the people all of the time, but it is possible to have a good compromise and I believe this is it.

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