Dogs are back in Manly Lagoon after Northern Beaches councillors voted in favour of dogs off-leash on the weekend at the popular park.
The unanimous decision was the first act of the newly elected council.
It overturned a decision by interim council administrator Dick Persson to ban off-leash dogs from the park during the weekend.
His decision, which went against council officers’ recommendation, was prompted by complaints by residents of barking and uncontrolled behaviour by dogs.
But Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said the decision has provoked outrage in the community.
“There is a critical shortage of areas for people to exercise their dogs off-leash. It’s been made worse by the changes to LM Graham reserve as a result of the expansion of the Manly swim centre,” Cr Bingham said.
“In this case the administrator made the wrong decision.”
Instead the council voted to adopt the original recommendation, that dogs must be on a lead at night and early morning during weekends and public holidays, but could run free at all other times.
Cr Bingham said the decision was the best compromise between the needs of nearby residents and dog owners.
“The challenge is there are a couple of residents who say they are being severely affected by the dogs,” she said.
“The good news is the community group Manly Dogs have taken that on board and they will personally run a roster of their members who will be on site. They are serious about it - they have a lot to lose if the arrangement doesn’t work out.”
She said group members would ask dog owners not to let their animals roam in a pack and to identify “trouble dogs” which would be banned from the area.
She said the council would also undertake a larger review of the Northern Beaches area to identify more potential off-leash areas.
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.