CCBARC Central Coast Beach Access Reform Coalition says a recommendation to the Council’s October 31 meeting from the Coastal Open Space System (COSS) advisory committee should be struck off the agenda.
CCBARC says the COSS Committee has no grounds for even considering the issue of the dog Off leash Area (OLA) at Pippi Point, Davistown.
COSS has asked Council to consider its advice as Council’s designated Advisory Committee on all matters relating to strategic biodiversity conservation land management for the Central Coast.
Its recommendations include the decommissioning of the Illoura Reserve Pippi Point site as a dog OLA.
The Advisory Committee noted that the area had been identified as a threatened species habitat for the Eastern Curlew, Bush Stone Curlew, Pied Oystercatcher, Bar Tailed Godwit and Grey Headed Flying Fox.
It noted that the decommissioning was recommended because dog behaviour within the off-leash dog exercise area “will impact on foraging time or foraging efficiency of shorebirds including these threatened species whilst also potentially impacting breeding cycles”.
COSS wants its advice to be considered as a submission on Council’s draft Dogs in Open Space Action Plan which was recently on public exhibition.
CCBARC, a not for profit organisation that represents dog owners, says Pippi Point OLA has not been identified as a threatened species habitat let alone for the species listed.
“The evidence for this is in the actual content of all five ecological reports done on Pippi Point since 2010, as well as for records going back 46 years,” CCBARC says in a letter to Council.
It also disputes that the area is a foraging, roosting or nesting habitat.
“The Eastern Curlew and Bar Tailed Godwit are both migratory birds, that visit for only a portion of each year, and together with local Pied Oyerstercatchers, forage on mudflats only at low tide,” the CCBARC letter states.
“The mudflats are out on the water. The OLA is on land. The two do not mix. They do not forage in the OLA.
“Even Bush Stone-curlew’s (BSC) are not recorded as naturally foraging in the OLA. In fact, they should not forage in the OLA because Council sprays it with the toxic herbicide, Stadium Turf,” the letter states.
“The BSC occasionally forage at night near the Lintern St Wharf about 400-500m away from the OLA. Dogs are not exercised at night as there is no artificial lighting.”
It said the Grey Headed Flying Fox was simply recorded as flying overhead.
The report to the October meeting asks the Administrator to note the COSS recommendations which were made at its September meeting after they listened to a presentation from a council staffer.
The Chair asked for confirmation on the vulnerable species referenced in the presentation and whether or not they were directly observed or was it just that the potential habitat was identified.
The minutes of the meeting show staff confirmed that they were observed in the 2023 study area.
CCBARC contends that maps of the observed species show they are not in the OLA.
It says if the Administrator won’t remove the item from the agenda then at the very least, if he chooses to note the recommendations, he should recognise that the COSS Committee has no grounds for making those recommendations or that those grounds are disputed.