Shoalhaven City Councillors unanimously passed a motion to put a hold on its review of the dog off-leash policy, opting to proceed with case-by-case research.
On Tuesday, June 11, a motion was carried at the strategy and council meeting that stopped a review after it was brought forward to the first half of 2019. In October, 2018, council carried a motion to bring forward the timing of the review from 2020 to 2019.
Instead, council staff will research and consult with the community on providing additional off-leash areas on a case-by-case basis and report back findings to council with estimated costings in the first half of 2020.
Simon Twitchen of Ulladulla spoke on behalf of community group Paws 4 Thought Shoalhaven calling on council to stop its review and avoid paying a consultant $50,000 to provide information the community could.
Mr Twitchen said the group "totally supported" the role of rangers, but responsible pet owners felt they were not catered for, particularly in the Southern Shoalhaven.
He reported the issues with Narrawallee, where each end is dog prohibited leaving a section for owners in the middle affected by time restrictions.
"Time restrictions during daylight saving, allow you to walk your dog leash free at the same time as it is dark. Women in our community do not appreciate this," he said.
Elderly people also avoid using Collers, between Mollymook and Ulladulla, because of uneven ground and difficult access.
"Other beaches designated leash free, are so rocky, slippery and largely unsuitable that most older dog owner dare not even go there."
Mr Twitchen pointed out Sussex Inlet, Lake Tabourie and Wairo Beach also had no off-leash areas for dogs to exercise.
"We're all crammed together on insufficient [number] of suitable leash-free beaches despite being blessed with over 100 beaches to choose from," he said to council.
"We love our beaches and so do dogs."
Mr Twitchen said to The Times he hopes balance is given to the views of dog owners and non-dog owners alike in future research.
"We need fair representation and a fair compromise."
Council will also recommence the trial of the pathway street signage on the Adelaide Street Reserve at Greenwell Point and receive a report setting out the business case for increasing funding for ranger services to educate and enforce existing dog off-leash areas.