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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Horse manure polluting beaches

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As a regular walker along Tyagarah and Belongil beaches, I certainly enjoy this beautiful, unspoilt and uncrowded stretch of coastline. I am, however, increasingly concerned the ever increasing of volume of horse crap encountered during those walks.

This horse manure – however great for the vege garden – is not so good for the fish or wildlife as it is rich in nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, and pathogens, including bacteria, viruses and parasites.

The interests of a Byron horse riding business charging tourists $120 for this pleasure should not outweigh consideration for the local habitat and residents who enjoy shit-free beach walking!

I’m certainly not against horse riding or commercial business in the shire, but surely there must be a more environmentally suitable location for these activities? At the very least, the horse riders could be considerate enough of our local environment to pick up after their horses before leaving the beach.

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  1. Regrettably D James, your not alone and after sending an email to both my Tweed Council & Tweed State Representative, I received the following notification:
    Geoff is in Parliament this week but I have been advised as follows:

    Tweed Shire Council is empowered under the Companion Animals Act to fine owners for not cleaning up after pets. By definition, companion animals (pets) do not include horses, cattle or other livestock so council is not able to fine horse owners under the Companion Animals Act.

    There are no laws in NSW specifically requiring horse riders to remove manure in public places whether it be on a road, footpath or beach. Whether other legislation relating to litter, nuisance or pollution could be used for this purpose is not known.



    To which I replied:
    “Sent: Monday, 9 October 2017 5:24 PM
    To: ‘ElectorateOffice Tweed’
    Cc: To Whom It May Concern at Tweed Shire Council ; Fingal Head Community Association
    Subject: RE: Horse riding and horse faeces upon walking paths in the Tweed

    Dear Jennifer,
    Please convey my regards to our elected representative of the Tweed and what better place to make a case of legislation for horse owners/riders to be responsible for their horse excrement than in parliament.
    As a national party member and given that regional localities like Fingal Head is now a ‘social media’ hub for horse riders since the laws in Queensland are more stringent as to what excrement lands on the pathway/beaches etc.
    To me it’s a ‘no-brainer’… it’s unhygienic for any excrement to be dropped upon a public thoroughfare, especially as pointed out with the use of excrement bag that could be employed by the owner/rider of the horse and sensibly rid of the contents in an appropriate manner. More interestingly, why does the rider steer the horse upon the pathway and not on the crown land grassed verge?
    Please ask Geoff to either speak to whomever is the lawmaker for this conversation or to be my representative of the Tweed.
    I await your earliest reply.”

    No reply/response has been forthcoming. So I wish you success. I supposedly have an interview with Geoff Provest on the 18th January to discuss this issue and others.

    Maybe you would like to create an interview with your state representative too?

  2. What a load of ‘horse shit’ this complaint is! I have been regularly using this beach since the 1970’s and there was more horse activity back then than now! I walk the beach while picking up rubbish- plastics mostly, but horse manure has never been a problem. It really makes me wonder what your bias is and why you are making a seemingly spurious complaint about a small, local business, run by local people, trying hard to make a go of it? Your energy could be much better applied to an actual marine pollution problem, which is residential, commercial and rural run-off from the Belongil Creek! which really is a problem for the marine eco-system! Horses, by contrast are not new to this beach and the amount of manure you are talking about from a few horses would contribute nothing by comparison. Incidentally, their presence and use would predate your and my existence or use of this stretch of coastline. Historically, the beach has been used to drove cattle to Byron for shipping to market from well over a century ago.
    There have been horses on the beach since that time. Not just organized groups or commercial operations, but local people and visitors to the region and it can be accessed and used by anyone and should stay that way! We live in enough of a nanny state as it is, without more restrictions imposed by more rules and regulations of control.
    If you are truly worried about pollution on this beach, then better to apply energy to doing something about reducing the storm water pollution coming out of Belongil Creek. That is an ACTUAL source of the type pollutants you are complaining about. That is why you can see elevated levels of algae around the creek exit and not along the entire beach… Or if you specifically have a thing for horse manure then perhaps turn your attention to complaint about police horses riding through the streets of Byron Bay every Christmas holiday period crapping on the streets….


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