Dog Owners Have Been Led AstrayIt is becoming clearly evident that ‘majority rules’ does not apply within the Waverley Municipality after a call for the review of the latest dog laws in place at Bronte Park and Gully fell on deaf ears at a recent meeting with Waverley Council.
Attending the meeting with Waverley Mayor Sally Betts, Deputy Mayor Tony Kay and Cathy Henderson, Director of Community and Recreation Services, were recent dog rally organiser Warren ‘Bluey’ Graham and yours truly, along with other members of the Bronte community.
The question was asked as to why the sudden crackdown on dog owners, who have for years walked their dogs in and around the so-called banned areas without any repercussions.
According to the council these areas have always been off-limits to dogs and there has been ‘appropriate signage’ in place for years notifying people of the rules.
The appropriate signage comprises an icon of a dog with a red cross through it, among the other no-nos including ‘No Skateboards’, ‘No Alcohol’, and ‘No Ball Games’, which have never been policed as severely as the current dog laws.
There are now 33 signs spread around the park and gully focused solely on the new dog regulations.
According to Councillor Betts: “Rangers were continually being rung (with complaints about dogs). The council was criticised for not policing non-dog areas.” She also said that the council “won’t go back to the old system.”
In April last year a petition sent to Waverley Council contained more than 1000 signatures requesting Bronte Gully as an off-leash area.
This petition was ignored and the council decided to run their own campaign, which comprised an online ‘Have Your Say’ forum along with letterbox drops and advice through the Mayor’s Column in the local press.
As a result the majority voted in favour of a 24-hour off-leash area 10 metres west of the children’s playground and also agreed to the on-leash areas to the east.
So as far as residents having their say, it seems the council is not interested in a democratic vote, opting instead to set their own agenda.
Council’s reasoning for not allowing a 24-hour off-leash area was that it would “attract large numbers from elsewhere”.
I for one have been walking dogs through that area for more than a quarter of a century and never faced hordes of outsiders taking advantage of what was then considered an area where dogs could run free.
Council also said the reason for banning dogs in the waterfall area at the end of the gully was due to the impact they would have on the “water quality of creek”. This is the “creek” that is fed by stormwater and, more often than not, is polluted with whatever people empty down the drains.
The Sydney media have taken a great interest in this issue, which is far from over, and Bluey Graham is planning a big protest around Easter. A vote of no confidence in Waverley Council is also on the cards.
Bring on the revolution.