Plan to open up majority of Wollongong beaches to dogs

Stephanie Clingan of Shellharbour and her three-month-old kelpie, Arnold, play on Coniston Beach yesterday. Picture: DAVE TEASE
Stephanie Clingan of Shellharbour and her three-month-old kelpie, Arnold, play on Coniston Beach yesterday. Picture: DAVE TEASE

Dogs will be allowed on all but four of Wollongong City Council's beaches from Stanwell Park to Windang under a proposed extension of dog exercise areas.Six of the seven existing off-leash beaches will be retained as "green zones" and three new areas will be added in the council's new traffic light system. Four of the region's busiest beaches and all coastal rock pools will be red no-go zones, with dogs banned 24 hours a day. They include Austinmer and Coledale beaches, and the coastline from North Wollongong Beach to the southern end of City Beach.

  • Doggy doo hits fan over new beach zonings All other beaches will be orange on-leash zones, where owners will be allowed to walk dogs before 9am or after 6pm.At present, dogs are banned from all Wollongong beaches except off-leash areas at Bellambi boat ramp, Coniston Beach, Little Austinmer Beach, McCauley's Beach at Thirroul, MM Beach at Port Kembla, Perkins Beach at Windang and Sharkey's Beach at Coledale.A discussion paper, which can be viewed and commented on until August 6, proposes to add new off-leash areas at the northern end of Stanwell Park, north of Flanagans Creek at Thirroul and at Puckeys Beach, north of the lagoon. Sharkey's Beach would become an orange shared zone.Community kiosks will be held at Bellambi Rock Pool from 10.30am this Saturday, Thirroul fete on Sunday, Westfield Warrawong on July 16, Stanwell Park on July 18 and Coledale on July 26. The council hopes to roll out the changes in time for summer.Director of planning and environment, Andrew Carfield, said the policy was drafted in response to public feedback and complaints.More than one-third of the city's residents are dog owners, with 23,000 registered dogs and thousands more unregistered animals."It is a balanced approach that provides greater opportunities for dog owners ... and also protects the amenity of the beaches for other beach users by minimising the impact of dogs on the beaches," he said.Wollongong's beaches are already the most dog friendly in the Illawarra. Kiama council has six off-leash headland areas but just one off-leash beach at Bombo. Dogs are prohibited on all Shellharbour City Council beaches.Mr Carfield said Wollongong's other off-leash parks would remain unchanged until off-leash areas are reviewed next year.The scheme is also expected to make it easier for rangers to enforce the rules. "When the flags are up the dogs are not to be there," regulation and enforcement manager Peter Chrystal said.