DOG’S BREAKFAST: Decision on access to beach deferred

BALLINA Shire Council deferred a motion to regulate on-leash access to the beach around the Lennox Head Surf Club reserve until next month.

The main reason for the referral was the fact that most councillors misread the business paper and were unable to discuss the issue correctly.

Complaints from the public and issues with food management arose after dog owners accessed the club to get coffee and food from the cafe, plus complaints about the access to the beach available to them.

The confusion at today's meeting happened because the document presented to them included a map of the current set up and two possible options to consider.

Some councillors misread the document and believed the map with the current set up was one of the possible options.

The first one to acknowledge the mishap was mayor David Wright.

"I think I have misunderstood," he said.

"When the reports talks about option 2, I was looking at Figure 2 (which was actually option 1)," he said.


The cafe at the Surf Life Saving Club is a no-dog area at Lennox Head's Seven Mile Beach.
The cafe at the Surf Life Saving Club is a no-dog area at Lennox Head's Seven Mile Beach.


"I apologise, even though I have read this three times, I've got this wrong one.

"We've got to make sure we are clear about this."

Other councillors acknowledged the confusion, and agreed the document was unclear, and support for the motion was removed.

After council staff clarified what figure was the current set up and what figures were options presented to them, Cr Eoin Johnson moved to defer the motion until next month, seconded by Cr Cadwallader.

But Cr Stephen McCarthy chastised his colleagues for not being able to decide on the matter this week.

"I think that we need to be showing to our community that we can read a business paper, have a discussion today and make a decision," he said.

"Not making a decision because we misread a business paper, I just don't think it's acceptable."

Despite this, the motion was carried.

The mix of a business offering coffee and food, a surf club and dogs accessing the small piece of land has proven complex for council to resolve.

The issue was originally discussed in August, and a brief on-site inspection by councillors was completed in September.

The matter will be discussed again in the next council meeting on December 17.