ShareOurShores: Dogs on Beaches

Barwon Coast Committee of Management is responsible for managing 15kms of coastal reserve from Collendina at the east of Ocean Grove to the western end of 13th Beach. As part of our management we aim to provide safe and equitable access to the coastal reserves for all users, as well as conserving the natural values of the area. The ShareOurShores Campaign is a project run by Barwon Coast focussing on all aspects of equitable use by all types of beach users. Current projects running under the ShareOurShores Banner include ‘Responsible Boating Behaviour’, ‘Reducing Human Impact on Sand Dunes’ and ‘Dogs on Beaches’.

Dog Control Order Review

The use of beaches by people walking dogs has the potential to impact on other types of users of the beach. Walking dogs is one aspect of equitable beach use that Barwon Coast are aiming to improve management and understanding of through ShareOurShores.

To ensure safe and equitable access for all, Barwon Coast, in conjunction with the City of Greater Geelong (COGG) regulate access to beaches for dogs (see the attached pdf of the current regulations). These regulations (otherwise known as 'dog control orders') governing the use of Barwon Coast’s coastal reserves by domestic dogs are due for review. The current regulations have been in place since 1996. Barwon Coast have proposed a review of the current dog control orders to the COGG. The COGG are running a consultation process to gather public feedback on the proposed changes. Barwon Coast is supporting the consultation process. Information on how you can be involved in this public consultation process will be advertised by the COGG in the coming weeks. 

Why Did We Propose A Dog Control Order Review?

This review is about putting in place common sense rules that balance public safety and environmental impacts with the need to continue allowing locals or visitors to enjoy the beach with their dogs. This is a key management aim for the Share Our Shores Program.

In recent years there has been an increased incidence of uncontrolled dogs off-leash that are compromising the health of wildlife or the safety of other beach users and an associated increase in community complaints. We have also received significant community feedback that the current regulations are not effective and are not providing a safe and equitable beach experience for all.

As a first step in determining what the community required for equitable beach access, we contracted Federation University in 2018 to conduct an independent study into a number of coastal management issues, including dogs on beaches. Over 1700 community members contributed to this report through an online survey and workshops. The findings from this report, plus management learnings over the past ten years informed the new proposed dog control orders. Click here for more information on this report.

We believe the proposed changes will result in many benefits including, for the first time, answering a significant community call for a dog-free area on Ocean Grove beach. Rules and signage will be simplified across the coast and where horses currently access 13th Beach, this area will be designated a horse zone with dogs allowed on lead to create a safe beach experience.

The full details of the proposed dog control order changes will be uploaded to this webpage in the coming weeks.

Share Our Shores: Dogs on Beaches Public Consultation Process

Step 1: ShareOurShores Campaign Launch
November 2017 COMPLETE

Step 2: Federation University Social Research Project: Barwon Coast – Examining impacts of population, domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and seasonal variants on coastal environments
January 2018 to April 2018. COMPLETE

Step 3: City of Greater Geelong community consultation on proposed dog control orders
October 14th to November 22nd, 2019. Further information https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/yoursay/item/8d745949c2d4fa9.aspx