New offleash areas will have to span the Surf Coast to cater for residents without cars, according to a dog owners’ group.
A Torquay and Surf Coast Dog Action Group spokesperson said the organisation had identified public areas including a clifftop walking track from Jan Juc to Bells Beach for their pets to roam off leashes.
Other areas on the club’s preliminary wishlist included a walking track in Spring Creek Reserve, White’s Beach and adjacent wetlands, Taylor Park and spaces near Quay housing estate.
“We’re pleased so far with the process and look forward to the rest of the community consultation,” the spokesperson said.
Longtime Torquay resident and dog owner Moira, who did not want her surname published, said walking her dog on Fisherman’s Beach was important to her because of its accessibility.
“Council needs to consider, as a priority, the needs of the population, many of whom are aged and without transport,” she said.
“Many have chosen to live in a coastal area and enjoy their daily exercise with their faithful friend on the beach, which offers such a beautiful walking surface for those with unsteady gaits.”
Torquay councillor Ron Humphrey said residents would have an “open canvas” for designating offleash areas.
Cr Humphrey said council met foreshore manager Great Ocean Road Coast Committee this week to discuss dogs on beaches and offleash areas across the shire.
Rules for dogs on beaches would remain the same while the committee sought public feedback, he said.
A series of community workshops and an online survey on Surf Coast Shire’s website would allow owners to suggest parks and reserves for dogs to go offleash.
The internet survey is available by clicking a dog icon on www.surfcoast.vic.gov.au.