COCKBURN councillors have ignored two petitions with 839 signatures, 53 respondents to an online survey and 18 members of the Coogee Beach Progress Association and will now allow dogs on a portion of the Coogee Beach Reserve.
Just 42 people supported the amendment to the local law.
Dog will now be allowed in the alfresco section of the Coogee Beach Cafe and the northern end of the car park, but the ban remains in all other areas of the beach and reserve.
Lead petitioner Ron Blake was outraged by the decision, which went against the recommendation of staff, and says the democratic process in Cockburn has been damaged.
“The events that occurred during the progress of this matter are farcical.
“During the course of the dealing with the matter … none of the seven councillors made any reference to public submissions,” Mr Blake says.
“The only consolation is that the picnic area with bbqs and chalet huts west of the cafe was not included in the final outcome.”
Mr Blake says he’s considering appealing to the minister for local government.
The issue was pushed through by veteran councillor Kevin Allen, a dog owner who lives nearby and says he’s taken his mutts to the cafe’s alfresco area for 30 trouble-free years.
He was straight on the blower to the Chook after the vote to ensure “the other side” of the story got told.
“It’s all about balance,” Cr Allen said.
He said a few months ago new signs went up pointing out dogs weren’t allowed anywhere on the reserve.
The cafe owner approached him, asking why they’d gone up, as they’d driven away some customers.
Cr Allen reckons trade is down about 30 per cent. He also initially rubbished petitions.
“You stick a petition under most people’s noses and they’ll sign without really thinking,” he said before back-pedalling.
He dismissed Mr Blake’s concern dog owners would allow their pets to roam beyond the stipulated area, saying pooches would have to be on leads, and said while it would be difficult to police dog poo it was unfair to ban all owners because of an irresponsible few.
by STEVE GRANT