Stumers Creek Park Free our Dogs
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Cr Mark Jamieson
Mayor of the Sunshine Coast
Locked Bag 72
Sunshine Coast Mail Centre
Dear Cr Jamieson
We the undersigned write to you request the abrogation of local laws necessitating the leashing of dogs within the Stumers Creek Park area.
We understand the Sunshine Coast Council is presently reviewing local off-leash areas within the framework of Subordinate Local Law No. 2 (Animal Management) 2011, according to which Stumers Creek Park has been designated as a “leash’’ area. Whilst the Council’s decision pursuant to the aforementioned subordinate local law came into effect as of 1 January 2012, it had not seen fit to police the policy in any capacity up until 17 September 2015, when a group of locals were abruptly instructed to ensure their dogs were bound to their leashes while on the park’s grounds.
Coolum residents and visitors alike have enjoyed allowing their dogs to freely roam within the bounds of the Stumers Creek Park area for more than thirty years with no issues – we question and object to why the practice should now be halted.
This ongoing enforcement is a grave loss of community spirit.
We, as ratepayers and compliant residents, strongly feel the actions recently taken forcing our beloved dogs to remain chained in a place they have grown accustomed to being free in is unjust, insensitive and objectionable. The sentiment of our community has grown to a high level of resentment towards Council, inciting comments such as dictatorial, revenue-generators and in compassionate.
We believe a justifiable reason must be proffered to rationalise the enforcement of such a policy – never has anything untoward occurred to warrant such drastic action as that the Council has taken in this instance. We have yet to witness commotion or conflict among our dogs in the park nor assault or damage of any kind toward person or property.
This long-cherished haven for our dogs has proved invaluable as a hub for resident and non-resident dog owners to forge new friendships, as well as a meeting place for groups of friends and their dogs to co-mingle. We look forward to our afternoons, mornings and weekends together, owners and dogs alike, where we socialise, network and recuperate after work.
Not only has Stumers Creek Park served as a respite of sorts but also as a de facto therapeutic centre where support groups for women and children, along with their dogs, converge to gain solace whereas they otherwise would not be able to.
The elderly take great enjoyment in being able to sit and play with their aged dogs seeing that the beach is far too vast and cumbersome for either to walk. Others see it as simply an opportunity to catch up with casual friendships.
The park provides shade and shelter for all those who seek refuge from the blistering heat in the summer. Aesthetically, the park is consistently kept in pristine condition, with any litter, including excrement that may be left by our pets, promptly cleared.
The “Responsible Dog Ownership” section of Council’s website details Council’s objectives to promote socially responsible behaviour, i.e. allowing for shared parks and beaches; assist owners to ensure their dogs do not cause any disturbance; and to increase awareness about dog regulation in local laws. Moreover, the Council bases dog laws on common sense, advocating for all to enjoy the Coast’s leisure areas safely and comfortably.
Adhering to Council philosophy on the matter as outlined above would see to the designation of Stumers Creek Park as an off-leash area, shared between local dogs and their owners. Whilst the guidance of Council to ensure our dogs do not behave as nuisances or cause any disturbances is necessary and appreciated, our community has become quite adept over the years at maintaining control and order in the park. We have never compromised the safety or comfort of other park-goers.
It is our wish to see Council enact local laws that extend the courtesy of both considering how the community-at-large have been impacted upon and canvassing the opinions of those such laws are to most likely to affect.
For a considerable amount of time now, we have been doing the right thing in Stumers Creek Park, never compromising the safety or comfort of park-goers. It saddens and disappoints us that our continuing to allow our dogs off of their leashes are severely punishable to the extent Pensioners have received threatening letters from council stating ‘council have every right to access their bank accounts’.
We strongly urge Council to review and repeal the Council policy-in-question and leave our dogs and us to take pleasure in our treasured Stumers Creek Park as we have been doing for so long.
Thank you in advance for your kind consideration of this letter. We look forward to receiving your response in as timely a fashion as possible.
Stumers Park Dog-owners
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