Submissions closed

Reviewing feedback

About the REF

Niche Environment and Heritage was commissioned by Council to prepare a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) to assess environmental impacts for two proposed dog off-leash area trials - at Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south).

The draft REF describes the proposed trial, assesses the likely impacts on the environment and includes mitigation and management measures to mitigate any potential impacts.

More details about the draft REF can be found below.

We asked for your feedback by completing the online submission form or sending your submission via email or in writing. Submissions closed on 11 September 2022.

Thankyou to everyone who made a submission.

What's happened so far

At the Council meeting held on 28 July 2020, Council considered a Notice of Motion for the Activation of Beach Space for Dog Exercise.

Council resolved that a report be prepared on the feasibility of the establishment of dog off-leash areas – in a set area of north Palm Beach and southern most end of Mona Vale Beach.

An initial review of site constraints, approvals and likely environmental issues was undertaken and feedback was sought from relevant NSW State Government agencies and internal Council teams, including Environment and Climate Change.

Following these initial investigations, staff presented a report to Council at the meeting on 27 April 2021 identifying the areas at both Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south) as possibly suitable for dog off-leash areas.

Council resolved to seek community feedback on the proposals outlined in the report and undertake the necessary environmental assessments in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (and other relevant legislation) as part of this project.

A report was presented to Council on Tuesday 22 February 2022 recommending confirmation of the proposed amended trial parameters. The confirmation of these trial parameters would assist with the completion of the environmental assessments, following which the matter will be reported back to Council.

On 28 June 2022, Council considered a report on the draft Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the proposed dog off-leash areas at Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south) and the Community engagement report on the proposals.

Council authorised the exhibition of the draft REF and consultation with the community and relevant government agencies.

Council also resolved to investigate any further requirements that must be addressed before a trial may proceed, including under the Local Government Act 1993 and Crown Land Management Act 2016, the Companion Animals Act 1998 and Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The Council Minutes are available here.

What happens next?

The outcomes of the REF exhibition and consultation process will be reported to Council for its consideration along with the proposed next steps.

Council will also investigate any further requirements that must be addressed before a trial may proceed, including under the Local Government Act 1993 and Crown Land Management Act 2016, the Companion Animals Act 1998 and Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The draft REF can be viewed below. An overview of the draft REF is also provided in the next section - click on each arrow to view the summary of the full document.

Overview of the draft REF

Niche Environment and Heritage was commissioned by Council to prepare a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) to assess environmental impacts for two proposed dog off-leash area trials - at Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south).

The draft REF describes the proposed trial, assesses the likely impacts on the environment and includes mitigation and management measures to mitigate any potential impacts.

The draft REF considers the proposal to establish two dog off-leash trial areas at Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south) for a period of 12 months, during the following restricted times of use:

  • 5.30am - 10am and 5pm - 9pm, Monday to Sunday during Australian Eastern Daylight Time
  • 6am - 10am and 4pm - 7pm, Monday to Sunday, Australian Eastern Standard Time

The draft REF has considered a range of matters in relation to the use of the land for the proposed trial.

If the trial is to proceed, Council will need to amend the Pittwater Council Dog Control Policy to alter the blanket prohibition of dogs on all beaches within the Local Government Area, and to make orders to authorise dogs off-leash in the specified areas of Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south), subject to the trial parameters and mitigation and management measures outlined in the draft REF.

Council may also need to make or amend the plans of management in respect of the trial areas before a trial can commence.

Before commencing the trial, Council will assess the trial’s environmental impacts in accordance with Council’s obligations as a determining authority under Part 5, Division 5.1 of the Environmental, Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The draft REF considers the potential for impacts of the trial, including in respect of biodiversity, traffic, waste management, noise, Aboriginal archaeology, historic heritage, human health and water quality, and socio-economic matters.

The potential for impacts to soil and groundwater contamination, greenhouse gas emissions and air quality are also considered.

The REF concludes that the trial activity is considered to have relatively minor impacts and is unlikely to have a significant impact on the environment.

To minimise any potential impacts from the trial, a number of mitigation and management safeguards are incorporated into the draft REF.

These mitigation and management safeguards are summarised in Table 23 of the REF (See Section 7.2) and include:

  • installation of clear and well-placed signage that displays off-leash times and boundaries and details the requirements for dog owners to dispose of dog faeces and the penalties for failing to comply
  • dogs to be on-leash until on the beach and within the off-leash area, to prevent dogs running into the environmental conservation areas
  • monitoring of existing bin and faeces bag usage / adequacy and install additional bins or replenish faeces bag supplies more frequently, if needed.
  • increased patrols by Council officers during peak times to monitor parking demand during trial
  • monitoring of compliance with these mitigation and management safeguards and undertake appropriate regulatory and enforcement action, as needed
  • investigate and manage any complaints received through Council’s online complaints management system.

Engagement during the REF submission period

We held on site drop-in sessions so the community could come and talk to us about the REF. Everyone was welcome to attend. Some sessions had to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions and an additional session was held at each location before the submission period closed.

Palm Beach (north) WEEKDAY MORNING drop-in session

Wednesday 31 August between 8am and 10am - COMPLETED

Palm Beach (north) WEEKDAY AFTERNOON drop-in session

Wednesday 31 August between 3.30pm and 5.30pm - COMPLETED

Palm Beach (north) WEEKEND MORNING drop-in session

Saturday 3 September between 8am and 10am - CANCELLED

Palm Beach (north) WEEKEND AFTERNOON drop-in session

Saturday 3 September between 3.30pm and 5.30pm - CANCELLED

Palm Beach (north) WEEKEND MORNING drop-in session

Saturday 10 September between 8am and 10am - COMPLETED

Mona Vale (south) WEEKDAY MORNING drop-in session

Wednesday 31 August between 8am and 10am - COMPLETED

Mona Vale (south) WEEKDAY AFTERNOON drop-in session

Wednesday 31 August between 3.30pm and 5.30pm - COMPLETED

Mona Vale (south) WEEKEND MORNING drop-in session

Saturday 3 September between 8am and 10am - CANCELLED

Mona Vale (south) WEEKEND AFTERNOON drop-in session

Saturday 3 September between 3.30pm and 5.30pm - CANCELLED

Mona Vale Beach (south) WEEKEND MORNING drop-in session

Saturday 10 September between 8am and 10am - COMPLETED

Submission form

Project updates

On 28 June 2022, Council considered a report on the draft Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for the proposed dog off-leash areas at Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south) and the Community engagement report on the proposals.

Council authorised the exhibition of the draft REF and consultation with the community and relevant government agencies.

Council also resolved to investigate any further requirements that must be addressed before a trial may proceed, including under the Local Government Act 1993 and Crown Land Management Act 2016, the Companion Animals Act 1998 and Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The outcomes of the exhibition and consultation process and the investigation will be reported to Council for its consideration.

The draft REF was prepared as the next stage in the process to explore the potential for trial dog off-leash areas in these locations. Its purpose is to identify, analyse and evaluate the impacts of the proposed activity in accordance with the relevant legislation.

The Council Minutes are available here.

The environmental assessments for the proposed dog off-leash areas at Palm Beach (North) and Mona Vale Beach (south) are well progressed.

In light of the investigations undertaken to date, some amendments have been proposed. These are:

  • Reducing the eastern boundary to align with the boundaries of the Pittwater Local Environmental Plan 2014 map and Northern Beaches Local Government Area. This will reduce the complexity of the proposal by removing any boundary issues.
  • Modifying the proposed hours of use to avoid intensifying the recreational use of the area. It is proposed to change the hours from the original proposal of 4pm to 10am (seven days a week) to:
    • Australian Eastern Daylight Time: 5.30am to 10.00am and 5.00pm to 9.00pm, Monday to Sunday (seven days a week) and;
    • Australian Eastern Standard Time: 6.00am to 10.00am and 4.00pm to 7.00pm, Monday to Sunday (seven days a week).

A report was presented to Council on Tuesday 22 February 2022 recommending confirmation of the proposed amended trial parameters. The confirmation of these trial parameters will assist with the completion of the environmental assessments, following which the matter will be reported back to Council.

View the Council minutes here.

Council has consolidated all the consultation feedback received from our community into the possibility of establishing dog off-leash areas at Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south). All relevant issues raised during the consultation will be considered during the next stages, noting that the feedback in general was overwhelmingly supportive.

In line with the Council resolution, environmental assessments are being undertaken in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and other relevant legislation. To assist with this, Council has engaged specialist environmental consultants and will also be working with relevant NSW Government agencies where required.

A draft Review of Environmental Factors (REF) is expected to be completed in February 2022. Further updates will be provided as this work progresses, prior to both the environmental assessments and outcomes of the consultation being reported back to Council.

At the Council meeting held on 28 July 2020, Council considered a Notice of Motion for the Activation of Beach Space for Dog Exercise.

Council resolved that a report be prepared on the feasibility of the establishment of dog off-leash areas – in a set area of north Palm Beach and southern most end of Mona Vale Beach.

An initial review of site constraints, approvals and likely environmental issues was undertaken and feedback was sought from relevant NSW State Government agencies and internal Council teams, including Environment and Climate Change.

Following these initial investigations, staff presented a report to Council at the meeting on 27 April 2021 identifying the areas at both Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south) as possibly suitable for dog off-leash areas.

Council resolved to seek community feedback on the proposals outlined in the report and undertake the necessary environmental assessments in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (and other relevant legislation) as part of this project.

Engagement history

Engagement on the proposed dog off-leash trial parameters at Palm Beach (north) and Mona Vale Beach (south) was undertaken between 7 May - 6 June 2021. Details about the engagement are outlined below. A Community engagement report on the proposed trial parameters was provided to Council in June 2022.


Timeline

  • Timeline item 1 - complete

    Jul 2020 - Apr 2021: Feasibility study for the establishment of dog off-leash areas

  • Timeline item 2 - complete

    May - Jun 2021: Engagement on the proposed trials

  • Timeline item 3 - complete

    Feb 2022: Report to Council to amend the proposed trial parameters

  • Timeline item 4 - complete

    Jun 2022: Report to Council on outcomes of engagement on the proposed trials

  • Timeline item 5 - complete

    Aug - Sep 2022: REF exhibition

  • Timeline item 6 - incomplete

    Late 2022: Report to Council on outcomes of the REF exhibition

Have an enquiry?

Please contact:

Name Environment & Sustainability
Phone 1300 434 434 (during business hours)
Email council@northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au
In writing

'Proposed dog off-leash areas', Northern Beaches Council, PO Box 82, Manly NSW 1655.