Opposition to Minnamurra River dog swim plan

Kiama Municipal Council staff believe a proposal to allow dogs on leashes to swim in the Minnamurra River should not be supported.

In March, a majority of councillors backed a recommendation from Kiama councillor Warren Steel to investigate the move.

Cr Steel said he knew not everyone would agree with the idea but he believed dogs should be allowed to swim with their owners in certain areas of the river.

Council staff sought comment from agencies for a report to be presented at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

The Office of Environment and Heritage said while the Minnamurra River was a regionally significant estuary for migratory and resident shorebirds, the area was not recognised as a significant site for any threatened species.

However, human disturbance, including disturbance by domestic dogs, was recognised as a key threat for shorebird populations, the department said.

Council staff said the overall consensus from agencies contacted was allowing dogs to swim in the river ‘‘would not be an appropriate activity for a highly popular family and tourist destination’’.

‘‘The overall risks in terms of the pressures already placed on the Minnamurra River environment and responsibility of owners to use the area correctly were too great,’’ the report said.

The report will be discussed at Tuesday night’s council meeting, the first Kiama council meeting to be webcast live.

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