Ballina Shire Councillor Jeff Johnson has drawn attention to the number of people ignoring dog regulations around the Lennox surf club in recent weeks.
In the last Ballina Council meeting he said that on a recent Sunday there were lots of little kids about the area. ‘There are two “No Dogs” signs but I watched people walking with dogs past and all around the signs. There’s always a line-up for the cafe from 7am until 2pm, with people lining up with dogs. I observed twelve dogs in an area with eighty people.’
He said the signage could be improved, but the problem is that people see other people with dogs in the area and no one gets fined, so they think ‘it’s a free for all’ with more and more dogs every week.
‘They are getting tied to the fence, and it has a flow on effect, with people openly ignoring signs, although the area is crowded with young kids.
‘The ranger came down at one point from the beach and dogs walked right past his vehicle. People are walking down to the beach from the southern side of the surf club.
‘Maybe that was an exceptional day, but I think we need to stop the dogs from being at that cafe, which is ridiculously crowded. It’s a serious issue we need to look at before some kid gets bitten.’
Council cracking down?
Mayor David Wright said when it comes to policing COVID regulations and dogs, ‘you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.’
Cr Ben Smith said in the meeting that ‘steps were being taken’ to do something about the dog issue. Echonetdaily contacted him to ask what that meant, but has not yet heard back.
Cr Johnson said, ‘There’s just too much congestion and conflict when you have lots of kids running around and lots of dogs in a small area. The situation is amplified on Saturdays when the Surf Club Nippers are in the area.
‘Last summer, when the Lake Ainsworth foreshore parkland was completed, council staff had an information tent in the area and there were lots of temporary “No Dogs” signs put up,’ he said.
‘An access track to the dogs off-leash section of the beach was also established to help separate the kiosk/surf club area with the access path to the dog beach.’
Cr Johnson said he’s concerned that once the surf club operations start again, the conflict over the congested area will be further highlighted.