At the Northern Beaches Council meeting on 23 June 2020, Council resolved to prepare, lodge and progress a development application to authorise the off-leash trial at Station Beach, without admissions or prejudice in relation to proceedings in the Land and Environment Court of NSW commenced by the Palm Beach Protection Group. Council has seemingly become alert to its inconsistent processes by tabling such a motion!
It is well known that development applications require authorisation from the land owner of the property. In the case of Station Beach, Crown Lands is the land owner and Council requires a licence from Crown Lands for a development application for off-leash dog use at Station Beach.
A review of Station Beach zoning indicates it comprises two zones:
(1) E2 Environmental Conservation zone, as to the land below the mean high-water mark and under the jurisdiction of NSW Crown Lands.
(2) RE1 Public Recreation, as to the land above the mean high-water mark.
We again note, that Crown Lands (previously the NSW Department of Industry) expressed its concern about the potential harm of an off-leash trial on the endangered seagrass in its letters to Council dated 10 September 2018 and 15 November 2018. This view is also consistent with the view of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), which has a strong preference for the use of ocean beaches as off-leash areas, rather than estuary beaches (Station Beach is an estuary beach).
We remain at a loss as to why Council continues to pursue this matter given the environmental sensitivities of Station Beach.