Doggone it: 24-hour dog off-leash area at Wanda beach cancelled

"Negative impact": Dog and owner on Wanda beach. Picture: John Veage
"Negative impact": Dog and owner on Wanda beach. Picture: John Veage

Tuesday update: 

Dogs will not be allowed to run off-leash around the clock at Wanda beach.

Sutherland Shire Council voted on Monday night not to reinstate the 24-hour, dog off-leash area north of gate five at the beach.

Dogs had been allowed off-leash on the beach between 4pm and 10am since 2004.

The council had introduced the 24-hour, off-leash area as a 12-month trial period last August but it was suspended three weeks later after two serious dog attacks.

The trial had attracted an unprecedented number of people with their dogs; many from outside the shire.

Dogs will still be allowed off-leash in the area between 4pm and 10am daily.

What do you think of the decision not to reinstate the 24-hour, dog off-leash area? 

Monday story: WANDA beach's 24-hour dog off-leash area should not be reinstated, says a Sutherland Shire Council report.

The off-leash area on Wanda beach north of Gate 5 has been used as an off-leash area since 2004, between 4pm and 10am daily.

The council introduced a 24-hour dog off-leash rule for that area in early August for a 12-month trail period.

But three weeks later, the council suspended the trial indefinitely following two serious attacks on dogs and an unprecedented number using the beach.

It reverted to the previous 4pm to 10am off-leash policy in the area and held an environmental review on the impact of the 24-hour policy.

The review found current dog off-leash activity on Wanda beach between 4pm and 10am had a negative impact on the environment and on other beach users.

This included damage to adjacent dunes, disturbance to flora and fauna, pollution from dog faeces, noise from uncontrolled dogs, discarded dog bags and conflict between dog owners and other users of the area.

"This impact will be exacerbated with an extension to 24-hour off-leash access," the report states.

"There appears to be strong support within the community for both reinstatement of the trial and for maintaining the status quo.

"The existing time limited arrangement for the Wanda beach off-leash area provides the best balance."

The matter was due to be discussed at Monday night's council meeting.