Boat Harbour Beach to permit dog access with seasonal-based restrictions

A map of Boat Harbour demonstrating the permitted areas for dogs. Photo: Port Stephens Council.

FOLLOWING a six-month trial, Port Stephens Council has decided on the status of off-lead dogs on Boat Harbour Beach.

Commencing on Wednesday 4 August 2021, a trial was conducted permitting dogs off lead on Boat Harbour Beach.

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A three-month extension to the trial was endorsed at the Council meeting on 26 October 2021 with the trial and survey both concluded 4 February 2022.

John Maretich, Port Stephens Council Asset Section Manager said that the trial period has provided useful insight into the suitability and impact of dogs on Boat Harbour Beach.

“Boat Harbour Beach is small in size, a popular beach used by families and a designated informal boat launching facility.

“An existing off-lead dog exercise area is provided adjacent to the beach on Boat Harbour South Headland (Iluka Reserve).

“Recognising the characteristics of Boat Harbour Beach and the outcome of consultation, it is recommended for this site to be made a dog exercise area with restriction,” Mr Maretich said.

Dogs will be permitted on and off lead at all times during off-peak season from May to September and in peak season, dogs are permitted on lead between 5pm and 9am in October to April.

Dogs are prohibited outside of these hours.

An online survey was opened on Council’s Have Your Say platform and a community education event was conducted at Robinson Reserve, Anna Bay.

542 survey responses were received during the trial period.

345 (64 percent) respondents were residents of Boat Harbour, 132 (24 percent) were from the Tomaree Peninsula, 42 (eight percent) lived in other areas of Port Stephens and 28 (four percent) were from outside the LGA.

Overall feedback was evenly split, with a decrease in support during the peak period (October – February).

“Additionally, 372 survey comments were received during the consultation period.

“The most common concerns raised by the community related to safety, hygiene, limited space and user experience.

“Council also received eight complaints outside of the survey relating to concerns around safety and loss of amenity,” Mr Maretich said.


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