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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Dogs at Lennox surf club

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Dogs around the queue for the cafe at Lennox Surf Club recently. Photo supplied.

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.’

Kids, large humans and dogs at Lennox Surf club. Photo supplied.

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.

Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson.

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.

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  1. Maybe BARCO might be finally needed again – not to educate dog owners about being responsible, but to stand up for “doggy rights to access everywhere” when they are about to be curtailed.

  2. Am I reading this correctly? Responsible dog owners from Lennox are taking their pets for a morning walk and lining up to buy a coffee and this needs Council step in and stop this?

    Jeff – sure you mean well but LOL are you kidding?

  3. The problem was never there, we use to meet their with our dogs on lead and have a coffee after using the leash free area of the beach. Dogs were never allowed near or in lake Ainsworth. The track they have now seems ridiculous as it crosses the grass. Well now the kiosk has lost our business and if councillor Johnson has been their he would have noticed no problems. Perhaps enforcing the rules when dogs are off leash in that area would help ( strangely generally people with small kids).

  4. Generally speaking it’s not the dogs that are the issue, it’s their owners who seem to think they are entitled to take them anywhere. Surely in an area with a surf club, cafe and lots of young kids running around people would respect that.

  5. I was trying to see what the big deal is. I think the fuss is there are signs up. Remove the signs and there won’t be a problem. Doggys get a walk and people get a coffee. Buisness continues to be viable.

  6. Really Jeff??
    Responsible dog owners supporting a local business and somehow you see a problem with this?
    I hope you read these comments and then go and do something useful for your community …

  7. I do understand why the council thinks they have a duty of care to children around the surf club but I feel since most outside setting in Lennox allows dogs on lead while their owners are also offered dog bowls of water , I am bewildered by this issue . I do agree there will always be the person that thinks their dog is special and except from needing a lead but I have never seen this at the surf club . Unfortunately I do see it too often at Sharpes Beach , Flatrock and Lennox boardwalk and Headland . Maybe council should go there where there is a really concerning issue fir native wildlife , kids and timid and smaller dogs that are all to often ,feeling threatened.I do agree with no dogs at Lake though .

  8. The dogs are all on lead at the cafe and well behaved, you barely hear a bark even once a day.
    The kids on the other hand are running around unsupervised, throwing sand, climbing on tables, interrupting other guests.
    At what point do we say that parents actually need to take responsibility for the safety of their own children?
    Just yesterday I watched a little preschooler fall off the top of one of the big park tables because they climbed up & were jumping all over the table top & neither mother’s were paying any attention.
    I’m not a dog owner and I honestly cannot see how dogs & not unattended children are the problem.

  9. Lennox Head is the worst dog-hating place (council?) that I have come across. If you have ever walked the “dog access path” or dog-owners lane of shame, you know what it feels like to be treated as an unwanted pest.
    I can’t see a “dog issue” other than the forest of NO DOGS signs, and it seems from the comments nobody else (but Jeff Johnson) does. But the air of animosity towards dogs and dog-owners has made me avoid Lennox and the Lake Ainsworth. I do not feel welcome and have decided not to spend any money in Lennox, the hostile place.


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