DOG owners are again pushing for more space to walk their pets along a north coast beach.
Rob Nelson, who regularly visits Quinns Rocks dog beach, co-ordinated the latest petition to extend the designated exercise area.
The City of Wanneroo plans to consider a report on the 1976-signature petition in April, which calls for the northern boundary of the dog beach to move 400m north to beach access stairs near Chippy’s Beach Shack in Jindalee.
Mr Nelson said the number of signatures he collected over four weeks in summer was a testament to the support for a longer dog beach.
“I walk the 1km dog beach almost daily,” the Quinns Rocks resident said.
“I have two dogs and I take a keen interest in the local ecology, tide or wave action, reef exposure, sand erosion and the people that regularly frequent this beach.
“There are a number of people (about 30 to 40) whom I see on this stretch of beach four to six times a week.”
In May 2014, the council decided to never extend the Quinns dog beach but to investigate other possible locations, including Alkimos. That decision was influenced by the results from public consultation about a proposed 320m southern extension and a 393-signature petition and 250-signature online petition opposing the extension.
The council had also decided not to extend the dog beach northwards in April 2010 after public opposition.
Mr Nelson said he knew there would be objections to his petition, but he had noticed that very few people were using the beach.
“I started the petition mid-December and collected signatures over a four-week period and took photos of the 400m section of the beach from the northern end of the dog beach to the stairs,” he said.
“Almost no-one uses this section of beach – apart from errant dog-owners – so it would seem that anyone against this petition doesn’t actually use this beach themselves but want to deny those that could and would.
“This particular section of beach is not a good swimming beach.
“It is quite reefy, interspersed with very small pockets of swimmable sections.
“The beach immediately south of the dog beach is a very good swimming beach, but people rarely use it..”
Mr Nelson said petitioners offered alternatives as well as extending the beach 400m to the stairs, such as a 180m extension to the recently refurbished stairs, or 1km north to a formation known locally as elephant rock.
Another suggestions was to make the whole beach accessible most of the year, but not in summer.
Mr Nelson owns a shitzu cross, Moby, and a moodle, or Maltese poodle, called Deez.
He said, based on the Australian average of 40 per cent of households owning dogs, having about 2km of the City’s beach designated as dog exercise areas was not equitable.
“Given that there are approximately 68,000 dwellings in the broader (City of) Wanneroo, this equates to over 27,000 households with a dog,” he said.
“Wanneroo has 32km of coastline – if the beaches were to be utilised equitably, dog owners would actually have access to approximately 13km of beach.
“I understand the logic of compressing dog friendly areas but the current allocation is inequitable.”
Mr Nelson said the northern end did not have a structural beach access, with just a steep sand dune path there.
“Currently, more people illegally access or exit the dog beach from the adjacent recently refurbished timber and steel steps some 200m further north than rather than use the people unfriendly legal access,” he said.