Like a dog’s breakfast

IT should come as no surprise that the City of Wanneroo has reversed its recommendation to extend the Quinns dog beach, citing a petition of 393 signatures from residents opposing any extension (‘Residents win dogged campaign’, Times, May 6).

It totally ignores an earlier 1459-signature petition from dog beach users and community feedback to the Coastal Management Plan on which the council based its original recommendations.

In 2009, the council was forced to refer back to administration its report on the dog beach due to ‘concerns over the statistics provided and with the community consultation process’.

In 2010, Cr Tracey Roberts, now the mayor, suggested that Claytons beach be trialled as a dog beach during ‘winter months’.

However, it was put forward for public consultation as a proposal for permanent year-round use at the same time as the Mindarie camel-ride proposal and never stood a chance of getting through.

Then there was the dog population figures used in the Coastal Management Plan, based on dog registrations at the time, ignoring the fact that the administration had allowed the number of registrations in the City to fall, despite an obvious increase in dog numbers.

Other cities provide a much higher percentage of their beaches for dog exercise and the average distance between their dog beaches is 8.5km, in contrast to the 20km between Hillarys and Quinns and 26km between Quinns and Yanchep dog beaches.

You have to wonder why the council goes to the time and trouble of conducting public consultation surveys and developing costly foreshore management plans when it simply rolls over to the wishes of elitist foreshore residents and developers.

A visit to Quinns dog beach will show families swimming, surfing, fishing and socialising with their dogs.

No other beach can boast such a broad demographic and yet dog beach users are treated as beachfront pariahs, making nonsense of the council’s stated commitment to delivering ‘connected communities’.