Changes to Cockburn dog beaches under new plan


Council has adopted its Animal Management and Exercise Plan 2020-2025 (AMEP). The five-year plan proposes strategies to effectively manage growing dog and cat populations while balancing human amenity, the environment, and the needs of pet and non-pet owners alike.

Based on RSPCA estimates, there were 21,579 dogs in the City of Cockburn in 2019, with a 2024 forecast of 24,296. To date (October 2020), 18,772 dogs are registered with the City.

The creation of the plan was a community-led process, driven by a series of community workshops, pop-up stalls, online and postal surveys, culminating in a Plan that reflects the community’s needs and sentiment for a wide range of animal related topics.

The plan will enable about 40 per cent of Cockburn’s coast to be accessible to dogs, plus provide more off-leash dog exercise areas at large public open spaces, and two new dog parks.

One of the main changes for dog owners and their canine pets includes beach access.

Dog access to beaches

What beaches are dogs prohibited?

Dogs will be prohibited at Woodman Point between Ammunition Jetty and south around the point to Jervoise Bay dog beach from 21 October.

Dogs remain prohibited at Coogee Beach, Ngarkal Beach at Port Coogee Marina and Chelydra Beach between the northern end of Port Coogee and South Fremantle Power Station.

Why is Woodman Point beach now prohibited to dogs?

This closure was prompted by significant objection from the community, stakeholders and adverse findings from an independent Environmental Impact Assessment.

This will protect the vulnerable Australian Fairy Tern population and other shorebirds, including migratory species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

A proposal for this beach to change from on-leash to off-leash was rejected by a significant proportion of community survey participants and the Department of Local Government, Sport & Cultural Industries, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Woodman Point Regional Park Community Advisory Committee, Birdlife Australia, the Conservation Council of WA and Native ARC.

Making this beach off-leash (accessible to dogs) could generate significant impact to threatened bird species, triggering the approval of the Federal Minister for Environment.

What beaches can dogs still access?

Beaches where dogs are still allowed are C. Y. O’Connor Beach north of South Fremantle Power Station to the Catherine Point groyne, and at Jervoise Bay dog beach facing south to the Henderson shipbuilding area, accessible via Jervoise Bay Cove road.

New off-leash areas for dogs

For the first time, several large public opens spaces will be phased in as off-leash areas, when not in use by recognised sporting groups or by schools.

Phase one reserves

  • Allendale Park
  • Aubin Grove Reserve
  • Beeliar Reserve
  • Colorado Park
  • Goodchild Reserve
  • Santich Park

Phase two reserves

  • Enright Reserve
  • Len Packham Reserve
  • Success Reserve

Two dog parks are also proposed for construction at Radonich Park (Beeliar) and Macfaull Park (Spearwood).
We will let you know when these spaces are ready for use.

What did the independent Environmental Impact Assessment find?

  • Woodman Point is used by a variety of federally protected shore-nesting birds
  • The birds prevalent at Woodman Point require safe foraging and roosting habitat within coastal areas to rest, feed and accumulate the energy resource required to successfully migrate back to breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere
  • Disturbance to migratory shorebirds from dogs, people and other stimulus imposes a high energetic cost, potentially compromising the ability for the birds to build sufficient energy reserves for migration, and continued disturbance at a site can render the habitat unsuitable for future nesting 
  • The City would be required to seek federal approval to continue allowing coastal usage by dogs or we could be breaching the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Use of microchip scanners

We anticipate the use of microchip readers around dog prohibited areas to occur in the later stages of the Plan. The overall intent is to monitor any trends and timings where dogs are entering these prohibited areas.
The information collected by these devices will allow the City’s Rangers to patrol at times where breaches of the law are likely to occur. This technology will allow City Rangers to patrol more effectively and identify dog owners who choose to do the wrong thing by taking their dog into dog prohibited areas.

Benefits of the new plan for dog owners

The AMEP proposes many initiatives to improve access to dog owners throughout the life of the Plan, these include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing a dog registration kiosk at events
  • Providing solar-powered lights at dog parks, so owners have increased access to these dedicated facilities at night
  • Increasing security around enclosed dog parks with the installation of Closed Circuit Television 
  • Installation of a dog wash station at C. Y. O’Connor Beach
  • Construction of two new dog parks, in Spearwood and Beeliar
  • Improving existing enclosed dog parks by adding more sensory and training aids for pets and their owners to interact, and
  • Provide off-leash access to some of the City’s largest Reserves and Parks when not in use by sporting or school groups.

Read the AMEP on the City’s website.
Please email questions to [email protected] or call 9411 3444.

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Spearwood 6163

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Western Australia, 6965

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaditj boodjar kep wer kaadidjiny kalyakool yoodaniny, wer koora wer yeyi ngalak Birdiya koota-djinanginy.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.