NSW government agencies have publicly reported that they prefer alternative locations to Station Beach. This includes the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), which provided its comments on the Review of Environmental Factors on 14 August 2019, stating it “has a strong preference for the use of ocean beaches for the dog off-leash area, rather than estuary beaches”, and the NSW Department of Industry (Crown Lands) on 10 September 2018, expressing that it “would prefer [an off-leash dog trial to] be confined to more environmentally resilient sites in Pittwater, rather than Station Beach”. This was reiterated in a further letter to Council on 15 November 2018. However, there has been no pursuit of any alternative locations to Station Beach.
Station Beach is a narrow tidal beach, also known as an estuarine beach, with a protected and endangered seagrass meadow running close to the shoreline with easy access for on-leash and off-leash dogs.
By definition, estuaries are semi-isolated from ocean waters by barrier beaches. Formation of barrier beaches partially encloses the estuary, with only narrow inlets allowing contact with the ocean waters. A potential increase in dog faeces would substantially decrease the water quality of an estuarine beach in comparison to an ocean beach, which can ‘self-clean’ from the movement of tides and have the flow of fresh water through its access to open waterbodies. Because of this, we conclude that ocean beaches are more appropriate areas to conduct dog trials.