Community split over dogs on East Corrimal beach

Frolicking at liberty through the shallow waters of Bellambi Lagoon could be a thing of the past for water-loving canine companions.

Under proposed changes to the existing off-leash zone for East Corrimal Beach, dog owners could soon be forced to walk further north and clear of the lagoon outlet before letting Fido off the chain.

Growing conflict between families with young children and off-leash dogs sparked the boundary review by Wollongong City Council.

During the consultation period, irresponsible dog owners, particularly those failing to pick up poo, and the need for better enforcement, were raised as key concerns.

However, comments that the proposed changes discriminate against dog owners, and that the area was unpatrolled and families should not be encouraged to use the beach, were also raised.

Council received 136 submissions on the plan, with community opinion split down the middle about changing the boundary.

Balgownie woman Jacinta Peperkamp visits the beach five times a week with her dogs Boo and Molly and said the lagoon was a safer alternative to the surf for the little poodle crosses.

But as a mum and a dog owner, Ms Peperkamp said she was keen to see both sides get their share of time on the beach.

"It would be really nice if they could come up with a balance, maybe on weekends and school holidays put the restrictions in place from 10am til 4pm," she said.

"It would be nice to see a commonsense, share-the-area approach."

Under the proposal, the area between the East Corrimal Beach car park and the off-leash area would be designated a "public open space" allowing dogs on-leash at any time.

Extra signage outlining the responsibilities of dog owners and the boundary change would also be installed.

The proposed changes will be debated at tonight's Wollongong City Council meeting.

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