A dog-friendly beach?

Milton Beach in Sea Point could soon be declared a dog-friendly beach.

Milton Beach in Sea Point could soon become a dog-friendly beach after an urgent motion from Ward 54 councillor Shayne Ramsay at Sub-council 16 earlier this month.

Ms Ramsay said in August last year she had been approached by a resident in August last year who requested that the seldom-used beach be designated dog-friendly and that the animals be allowed to run there off-leash.

She said the beach was adjacent to the dog-friendly area of the promenade, thereby extending the pet-friendly space.
Sub-council resolved that Ms Ramsay embark on a public participation process and at the next public meeting the council would take a decision.

Ms Ramsay then posed the question on her Facebook page to which some residents weighed in and expressed their views.
Most residents supported the idea while others expressed concerns about cleaning up.

A resident, Laurie Wener, said free run spaces were needed for puppies whose owners lived in apartments.
But, she asked: “Are we all sufficiently responsible owners who can control and discipline our fur kids so that they do not present a danger to others and also pick up their poop?”

Also commenting on the matter, Peter Jones said Milton Beach was not used by general beach-goers, and dog walkers should be able to use it.

Among the residents who were not happy with the proposal was Mayibuye Magwaza who said: “Dogs crap everywhere; their owners often don’t bother to pick up after them, and there’s a very real safety hazard if they’re poorly trained.

“There’s literally no reason to do this except ‘dog owners want it’. My hobbies don’t inconvenience others, why should dog owners get preferential treatment?”

The secretary of the Sea Point Fresnaye and Bantry Bay Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association, Victor Morris, said the committee had unanimously voted against the proposal.

They said they believed there were sufficient dog-friendly public spaces in the area. “The committee is concerned that an additional burden will be placed on the council to clean up any excrement not removed by the dog owner, not to mention the health hazard arising from this excrement,” he said.

Mr Morris added that while a Facebook survey had been undertaken, they felt a more comprehensive poll or campaign should be undertaken through community newspapers before the final decision is taken because not all Sea Point residents were using Facebook.

He said they also raised a concern about dogs biting beach-goers, to which Ms Ramsay responded that the dog owner would be personally liable for any damages.

Mr Morris said if most residents were in favour of the proposal then the committee would have no option but to agree.

Ms Ramsay said details of how residents could have their say on the matter would be published in the community press in the coming weeks.