Ballina’s Gary Clark (left) and Alstonville’s Hans Lutter, members of the Birds Australia Ballina 2020 shorebird monitoring team, welcome theincreased restrictions on dogs at Flat Rock.
Ballina’s Gary Clark (left) and Alstonville’s Hans Lutter, members of the Birds Australia Ballina 2020 shorebird monitoring team, welcome theincreased restrictions on dogs at Flat Rock. DOUG EATON

Dogs to stay on leash at Angels

IT WAS a win for the birds.

That was the comment of Birds Australia Ballina 2020 shorebird monitoring team member Gary Clark after Ballina Shire Council last week agreed to keep Angels Beach as an on-leash area for dogs when it passed the Companion Animals Management Plan.

Two petitions – one in favour of a 90-minute off-leash period and another against – had been presented to the council, both with about 100 signatures.

“It’s a great outcome for the birds,” Mr Clark said of the council’s decision.

“Their natural instinct is to chase birds.

“Birds are aware of dogs as a threat more than humans, even on a leash.”

He also welcomed the increased restrictions on dogs at the Flat Rock platform.

Council agreed to prohibit dogs on the Flat Rock reef, which Mr Clark said was one of three important areas for shorebirds in Ballina. The other two are Mobbs Bay and Lake Chickiba at East Ballina.

The monitoring team has a dozen or so members who gather statistics on birds, going to field locations about once a month in the cooler weather and fortnightly in the warmer months.

The birdwatchers have agreed to help council pay for sign-age to alert people to the restrictions, and to educate the public.

Lee Andresen, from Angels Beach Dune Care, said the group’s founder, Shirley White, had been lobbying for 21 years for greater protection for the Flat Rock area, and was ‘delighted’ it had now happened.

A proposal to make Sharps Beach off-leash was rejected.

Meanwhile, for those owners who want space to exercise their dogs, council agreed to ‘investigate an additional suitable area to establish a fully-enclosed, off-leash facility with funding to be considered as part of the 2011/2012 budget’.

The shire has five off-leash areas.



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