Here is my submission to Council:
Community Consultation Session, Council Meeting 1 May 2018:
Trial Dog Off-Leash Area, Queens Beach North, Scarborough
I would like to make an input to Council’s consideration of the above trial dog off-leash area.
I am an open water swimmer and. for the past six years or so, together with a group of friends, I have swum at Queens Beach North, Scarborough, on two or three days per week for fitness and enjoyment. We have done so without incident and in full cooperation with other users of the beach and adjacent waters, headlands and parkland including other exercise groups, fishers, boat, kayak and paddleboard users, as well as other swimmers and family groups. We are a very responsible group and take our own safety and enjoyment of the beach and that of others very seriously.
I have consulted my friends and we believe that a dog off-leash area at Queens Beach North is not in the best interests of the majority of beach users for the following reasons:
- Dogs are harassing swimmers attempting to enter and exit the water
- Dogs are interfering with beach-goers’ belongings on the beach
- Some dogs swim in the water with some of them at considerable distance from the shore. Swimming dogs are known shark attractants given their rapid movements in the water and their body smell. They are therefore a hazard to swimmers
- Dogs interfere with other creatures on or near the beach including migrating shorebirds, turtles and crabs
- Queens Beach North does not have perimeter fencing which park-based dog off-leash areas have. Therefore, the owners of dogs off-leash are not easily able to confine them to the beach area leaving many of them to interfere with cyclists, runners and walkers on the footpath, many of them in family groups with small children
- Owners are also often unable to prevent their dogs going on the road on Flinders Parade thereby becoming a traffic hazard
- Queens Beach North is some 700 metres long and the more energetic dogs quickly become separated from their owners who are often unaware of their dog’s actions, including defecating and being unaware of the need to pick up their dog’s waste on the beach
- Queens Beach North is relatively rock free and is the only beach on the Redcliffe Peninsula where swimmers can enter and leave the water safely at any state of the tide without stubbing their feet on rocks. Therefore we believe that it should be kept for families and others who wish to swim and undertake other water-based activities
- A particularly upsetting possible outcome of having an unfenced dog off-leash area is the danger posed to guide dogs. A recent report has stated that 50 percent of seeing-eye dogs, or guide dogs, have been attacked by off-leash dogs with some of them unable to work anymore.
I do not wish to suggest that all dogs are untrained or that all owners are irresponsible, but the clear fact is that many are, and they make life hard for the rest.
Some people have suggested that I am a dog hater. I am absolutely not. I have had dogs myself for most of my life.
It would appear that Queens Beach North is to be either a people’s beach or a dogs’ beach. It cannot be both.
I have encouraged input by others to Council’s deliberations by mail, on-line and phone. I have also instigated a petition through change.org which has, in itself, elicited more than 30 responses to date.
I hope that Council will prohibit off-leash dogs from Queens Beach North.