A TIME amendment to new dog-walking restrictions at Inverloch beaches has done little to appease residents and tourists who opposed the new rules.
On Wednesday night, Bass Coast Shire Council voted to reduce the dog ban times to between 9am and 6pm after strong community opposition to its decision to prohibit dogs from all Inverloch beaches between 8am and 8pm from December to April each year.
“We think the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting is still too restrictive and won’t suit the majority of Inverloch residents or visitors,” resident Amanda Taylor said after a meeting with fellow disgruntled community members on Friday.
Ms Taylor said her group felt their questions about the changes had not been properly answered by council, and general community consultation had been lacking.
“We’re looking for a way to work together with council to come up with a more positive outcome.”
Dogs were previously permitted on beaches at any time, provided they were on a lead.
The changes came about following a review of council’s Domestic Animal Management Plan.
It designated two beach areas where dogs could be let off leads – east of Grandview Grove to Cuttriss Street and between Abbott Street and Ramsay Boulevard Car park.
However these beaches are still subject to the time restriction, meaning dogs are prohibited between 9am and 6pm.
Those found breaking the rules could face a $144 fine.
“The level of enforcement will be determined by the behaviour of the community,” Bass Coast Shire’s acting community and economic development director Antoinette Mitchell said.
“Our preference is always to educate people and if this doesn’t work we will issue a warning.
“Fines are only used as the very last resort and I hope that they will be not be necessary.”
The changes will be reviewed in May.
“While there are still dog walkers who would prefer there to be no restrictions, it is reasonable to trial this arrangement and undertake an evaluation after summer,” Ms Mitchell said.
“This enables those people who do not wish to have dogs on beaches at particular times to have input into a decision about future arrangements.”
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