Council amends the parameters of the Palm Beach (north) off-leash dog proposal

At the Council meeting on 22 February 2022, Council resolved to amend the parameters for the potential off-leash dog area at Palm Beach (north) for the purpose of preparing an environmental assessment. The motion sought to limit the off-leash dog area to align with Council’s eastern LGA boundary line as well as amend the hours of operation for the proposed off-leash areas during non-daylight-saving time.

The Northern Beaches Council noted in its communique that it has taken regard to the matters raised by Chief Justice Preston in the Palm Beach Protection Group Incorporated v Northern Beaches Council [2020] NSWLEC 156 case and how this relates to the proposed environmental assessment for Palm Beach (north).

We believe that Council recognised that its original concept plan (see download below) which proposed an off-leash dog area that extended 130m east from the sand dunes versus the new concept plan (see download below) which has reduced the off-leash dog area to between 75m to 80m east from the sand dunes, and now within Council’s LGA boundary line, has been undertaken to assist with the passage of the proposal and ensure a more manageable situation during the environmental assessment.

Given the requirements of relevant legislation, the complexity of land ownership between various Government departments and the overlay of planning law around the mean high-water mark, we believe that Council has reduced the width of the proposed off-leash area to within Council’s LGA boundary line to avoid the requirement of a licence from the Department of Primary Industries and/or Crown Lands. By doing this, Council can limit the environmental analysis and therefore internally manage environmental impacts that have previously been communicated by key NSW Government agencies.

The Palm Beach Protection Group is calling on Council to remain transparent and operate in an accountable manner by examining and considering to the fullest extent possible all matters affecting or likely to affect the environment by reason of the proposed off-leash dog activity at Palm Beach (north).