At the Council meeting on 27 April 2021, Council presented its feasibility report for establishing dog off-leash areas in the set area of Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south). The purpose of the report was to provide to councillors an initial review of the site constraints, approvals and likely environmental issues comprising general feedback sought from the relevant NSW State Government agencies and internal Council teams, including Council’s Environment and Climate Change team.
The proposed/amended trial area sketch for Palm Beach (north) indicates the dog off-leash area is 400 metres in length. (It notes the northern boundary being 280 metres south of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park; the southern boundary being 300 metres north of the North Palm Beach Surf Lifesaving Club; the western boundary being the eastern edge of the dunes in Governor Phillip Park and the eastern boundary being approximately 130 metres east from the eastern edge of the dunes. The proposed off-leash times and days are 4.00pm to 10.00am, seven days a week.
The report reminds Council that the proposed area is adjacent to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park (National Park) which is managed by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the overall area is located on Crown land in respect of which Council is Crown land manager (in Governor Phillip Park, above the mean high-water mark) and on land which the NSW State Government is the land manager (below the mean high-water mark).
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) correspondence to Council dated 25 March 2021 has indicated that NPWS would prefer to see the proposed area brought further south so the northern end of the off-leash area aligns with the northern end of the Governor Philip carpark. NPWS has flagged concern that due to the secluded nature of the northern area, dog walkers may be tempted to let their dogs continue further north into the biodiverse habitats protected within the area. NPWS has also asked Council to be cognisant of the NPWS’s future pest control program within the national park and its potential risk to domestic dogs. Finally, NPWS has also requested Council to advise how dogs will be managed given the potential risks of interaction between the semi-permanent wild seal population which occupies the rock shelves at Barrenjoey Headland, noting that the animals view one another as a threat.
Crown Lands is yet to provide a formal response to Council regarding the proposal.
These initial points, raised by a key government agency, require further investigation and requisite environmental assessment. We call on Council to ensure that robust and expert environmental assessment is undertaken and that any recommendation that is concluded from these assessments is cognisant of all environmental sensitivities.
Click here: Proposed Dog Off-Leash Concept Plan
Click here: Council’s comment page.