Marine park exemption for horse/dog owners
By MEGAN KINNINMENT
THE BYRON Shire Council yesterday voted to support the shire's dog and horse lovers in its submission to the State Government on the draft Cape Byron Marine Park plan.
Under the draft plan, dogs and horses would be banned from beaches that adjoin the marine park and a national park.
However, the ban would not apply to the Tallow Beach dog exercise area because it does not abut the Arakwal National Park.
Submissions on the marine park close on Monday, and yesterday's meeting was the final opportunity for dog owners and horse riders to lobby the council into supporting their use of Brunswick and Tyagarah beaches.
Horse rider Raylee Delaney, representing the Northern Action Group, urged the council to support a 140-year tradition in the shire.
"Riders have been using Tyagarah and Brunswick beaches since 1865," Ms Delaney said.
"Conservation and riding can go hand-in-hand."
The council endorsed Ms Delaney's proposal for riders to use inter-tidal areas from south of Brunswick down to the Belongil area, on the proviso that regulation agreements be struck between the riders, council and the Marine Park Authority.
Sitting beside the horse riders in the chamber were members of the Brunswick Area Responsible Canine Owners group.
Representing BARCO, John England presented the council with a petition signed by 700 people, including local vets, supporting a one-kilometre stretch at Brunswick beach as a dog exercise area.
On one Sunday alone, BARCO collected the signatures of 160 dog owners at Brunswick beach.
Cr Peter Westheimer, who put the motion in favour of horse riding and the continuation of the dog exercise trial at Brunswick Beach, said he was acting to encourage 'nonmotorised' activities.
Greens councillor John Lazarus argued against the council's stand: "The idea of nature reserves is to create a sanctuary for native animals," he said.
"Horse riding and dog walking are indulgences."
After initially speaking in support of the dog and horse uses, Cr Jan Mangleson then voted against the motion.