A proposal for a dog off-leash area at the southern end of Jones Beach, Kiama Downs is gaining momentum four years after a similar plan was rejected by Kiama Municipal Council.
Kiama councillor and Kiama Downs resident Mark Way said there were large numbers of dog owners in the Kiama Downs and Minnamurra area, and Jones Beach would make an ideal location for an off-leash area, given the south end was ‘‘hardly used’’ compared with other beaches in Kiama.
In 2010 the council rejected the location due to the proximity to other off-leash areas at Bombo Beach and on the Minnamurra Headland.
Cr Way said the Bombo Beach off-leash area was not within walking distance for most Kiama Downs residents.
‘‘People don’t want to use their cars and I know some elderly people with dogs who can’t drive there anyway,’’ Cr Way said.
‘‘People like to come out of their house, walk down to the beach and come home again.
‘‘There is always a lot of dogs in the Bombo Beach off-leash area, and having a second area at Kiama Downs would split the numbers.’’
In April, Kiama Council’s companion animals management committee considered three submissions supporting the proposal from residents in the Jones Beach area, but decided to defer a decision.
Since the committee’s April meeting a further 35 submissions supporting the establishment of an off-leash area at Kiama Downs had been received by the council.
‘‘Any proposal will need to go through a process and be put out for public comment,’’ Cr Way said.
The proposal for an off-leash area at Kiama Downs comes as councillors continue to push for an ‘‘on-leash’’ swimming area in the Minnamurra River.
This is despite opposition from government agencies regarding potential environmental impacts and council staff who said allowing dogs to swim in the river ‘‘would not be an appropriate activity for a highly popular family and tourist destination’’.
Kiama Council has eight coastal off-leash areas.
Six are headland areas and two are time restricted beach swimming areas which are at Bombo Beach and Werri Beach between sunrise and sunset.