If you’re new to the dogs-off leash trial at Station Beach, opposite Palm Beach, we’ve summarised the back story for you.
Firstly, the Palm Beach Protection Group is an association of residents who are committed to preserving the pristine beaches and surrounding environment of Palm Beach for future generations. We oppose both on-leash and off-leash dog areas at Station Beach.
In June 2018, Northern Beaches Council resolved to undertake community consultation for a trial off-leash dog area at Station Beach. In November 2018 Council commenced its community consultation process by issuing a Review of Environmental Factors that had been prepared in 2008, over a decade earlier. As is well known, the purpose of a REF is to provide the public with independent information relating to the environmental impact of an activity, in this case, the proposed off-leash dog area at Station Beach. Given this process error, the Palm Beach Protection Group called on Northern Beaches Council to extend the consultation period to enable the community to review an updated REF, noting the old document was outdated and prepared against repealed planning legislation. An updated document was released to the public in May 2019.
Despite concerns of the NSW Department of Industry and the local community about the environmental impact of off-leash dogs at Station Beach, in August 2019 Council resolved to proceed with a dog off-leash area trial for a twelve-month period, on the provision that a licence be provided by NSW Crown Lands. Shortly after, the Palm Beach Protection Group filed a motion in the Land and Environment Court to repeal Council’s decision on planning and environmental issues.
Then on 17 December 2019, Council snuck a last-minute motion, without community consultation, to commence an on-leash dog area trial for twelve months at Station Beach from 1 January 2020, by amending the former Pittwater Council’s Dog Control Policy, and attempting to bypass the provision that a licence be provided by NSW Crown Lands. The Palm Beach Protection Group has also challenged Council’s on-leash decision in the NSW Land and Environment Court. This will be heard in October 2020.
We believe that Council is appeasing local pro-dog activists at the expense of the local environment. As well as the known environmental sensitivities of Station Beach and the important issue of protection of seagrass, we regard Council has also put at risk proper process regarding conservation, in which it is charged to protect.