DOG owners have asked Fremantle council to let them use the full length of Leighton Beach during winter because climate change has made their strip of sand too small and dangerous.
A petition of 533 signatures was presented to Fremantle council on Wednesday night asking for a change to the local dog law to allow the winter access, as well as early mornings and late evenings during summer.
The pooch lovers say a combination of rising sea levels and drifting sand means that during winter the beach becomes split by a rocky headland they can’t pass without risking a sprained ankle or knee.
Technically only about 30 metres is under Freo council jurisdiction, but further south the dog owners see a ball-throwing nirvana virtually empty apart from a few wind surfers.
Kate Johnstone and Nick McInerney are originally from New South Wales and already feel they’re in doggy heaven, as Sydney’s got virtually no off-leash dog beaches and they’ve got a seven-month old Labrador pup Frank.
“We think it’d be a good idea, as long as we’re not impinging on anyone else’s space,” Mr McInerney says, acknowledging there’ll be some anti-dog sentiment.
Maree Griffiths brings her best friend down from Shenton Park.
“On a busy weekend it can be six dogs deep all along the beach with no one on the other side,” Mr Griffiths says.
Chip from Kardinya comes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “Can’t help what nature does. Been coming here 60 years; every winter it’s washed out,” Chip says.
“Used to be a sewage dump.”
Chip also wants Mosman Park council to fix the access stairs that lead people from the car park on Curtin Avenue down to a large concrete platform that now kind of hovers over the beach because waves have washed away the sand underneath.
Lee Jeffress says last winter she saw an elderly man fall headfirst into the rocks at the bottom of the stairs, badly gashing his head.
“It’s perilous,” she says.
by STEVE GRANT