New dog off leash area comes with strict rules

DOG owners can again have their dogs off the leash at Cannonvale Beach - but only in a certain area and at specified times.

Whitsunday Regional Council is trialling a dog off-leash area at the eastern end of Cannonvale Beach between 5am and 8am, and 5pm and 8pm.

The area starts 10m east of the swimming enclosure.

There was community uproar when the council voted to close the beach to dogs not on a leash, after a 12-month trial of a specified area at the western end of the beach found that 60 per cent of dogs were out of the allocated area - including being in a children's playground and around a barbecue area.

Cr Ron Petterson was behind the move to close the previous trial area, moving a motion at the council's May 21 meeting, because he believed children could be at risk from dogs off their leadsin the playground area.

However, he was also the person to find a solution, moving another motion at the council's June 12 meeting to hold a trial at the eastern end of the beach, away from the playground.


Whitsunday Regional Council councillor Ron Petterson in the new trial dog off-leash area at Cannonvale Beach.
Whitsunday Regional Council councillor Ron Petterson in the new trial dog off-leash area at Cannonvale Beach. Shannen McDonald

"I will always put safety first as a priority," he said.

"I'll also try to find a compromise where everybody gets to use our parks."

Cr Petterson said it was also important to note the new trial allowed dogs to be off-leash for only certain hours.

Although these hours were the same as during the previous trial, he believed many people had either not known there were set times previously, or had ignored them.

He said the hours meant dog owners could let their dogs go for a run early in the mornings or later in the evenings, but the animals would be back on their leash during the busy times when school children were walking either to or from school in that area.

Dogs are allowed to be on all areas of Cannonvale Beach at other times, as long as they are on a leash.

The trial of the off-leash area will run for six months.

"If everyone follows the rules, everyone will be happy," Cr Petterson said.

Since the start of the debate about the off-leash area at Cannonvale Beach, the council has also designated an extra dog off-leash area at Galbraith Park, off Galbraith Park Drive in Cannonvale.

For maps of these two off-leash areas and other off-leash areas in the Whitsundays, visit www.whitsunday.qld. /View/4879.