Plan of Management

Ballina Beach Village – Pet Friendly Plan of Management

Contents

1.0 Introduction
1.1 Purpose
1.2 Background
1.3 Policy Context
1.4 Report Structure
2.0 Issues and Impacts
2.1 Existing Fauna Populations
2.2 Potential Future Impacts
3.0 Management Strategies
3.1 Domestic Animal Management On-site
3.2 Domestic Animal Management Off-site
3.3 Fencing of the Site
3.4 Signage in the Sitw
3.5 Ongoing Management
4.0 Conclusion
4.1 Conclusion
4.2 Assessment of the Plan

 

Appendices

A Assessment of Glossy Black Cockatoo
B Pet Management Requirements

 

1.0 Introduction

This Plan of Management (PoM) has been prepared to provide a framework for the management of domestic animals at the Ballina Beach Village Caravan Park and campsite, Ballina, NSW (the “Site‟).

The Site has been operating as a “pet friendly‟ caravan park and campsite for over thirty years.
When animals, such as domestic animals, come into contact with native fauna they have the ability to affect the biodiversity, cultural heritage, and catchment values of an area. This PoM seeks to assist in the interaction management between domestic animals and local native fauna.

As part of a management strategy in the area, the baiting of feral foxes (Vulpes Vulpes) is undertaken by the National Parks and Wild life Service in the vicinity of the Site, although it is understood that this is being phased out in favour of den gassing and other strategies.

This PoM seeks to address the potential impacts of domestic animals, specifically domestic dogs, on the local native populations and to identify actions that can be taken to minimise these impacts.

The PoM also aims to minimise the chance of domestic dogs from the Site coming into contact with potentially dangerous substances as a result of the fox-baiting, in the event that National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) continues to use this feral animal control.

1.1 Purpose

This PoM has been prepared to address the potential impacts of domestic dogs based at the Site whether on a temporary or permanent basis.

The key objectives of the PoM are:

  1. To ensure that the domestic dogs using the Site do not affect the neighbouring native species particularly:
  2. Pied Oyster Catcher (Haematopus longirostris); and
  3. Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami).
  4. To minimise the potential impact of fox baiting on domestic animals visiting the Ballina Beach Village

1.2 Background

The Site is located in Ballina Shire Council Local Government Area and has an area of approximately 7.129 ha. The Site comprises 178 camping and caravanning sites and includes 36 Cabins. Communal toilet and cooking facilities are provided. The Site is located close to the southern shore of the Richmond River and approximately 350 – 450 m from South Ballina Beach. The park currently also serves as an information centre for non- resident visitors to the area. Visitors to the area include users of the beach and South Wall of the Richmond River mouth. Information provided to these day visitors by Ballina Beach Village includes information on wildlife and dog prohibition on the beach & nature reserve.

The Site recently applied for retrospective permission to validate 123 of their existing camping and caravanning allotments.

The Site is partially fenced around the perimeter. An additional fully fenced compound is located adjacent to the owners or resident manager’s lodging, in which the “owners‟ dog is kept.

1.3 Policy Context

1.3.1 Companion Animals Act 1998

The Companion Animals Act 1998 aims to protect pets, pet owners and other people. Under this Act, all dogs and cats must be identified and registered, and the responsibilities of dog and cat owners are also outlined. Some of the key requirements under this Act include:

  1. A dog that is in a public place (such as those public places) must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash (except at declared off-leash areas); and
  2. Dogs and cats are prohibited from wildlife protection areas (applies to areas set aside by the local authority for the protection of wildlife).

1.3.2 Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995

The Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act) provides legal status for biota of conservation significance in NSW. The TSC Act aims to “conserve biological diversity and promote ecologically sustainable development”.

One species that is listed under the TSC Act as “Vulnerable‟ (the Glossy Black Cockatoo) is known to be present on the Site. An assessment of listed species is required under Section 5A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

An assessment was conducted by Land and Fire Assessments Pty Ltd in support of a previous application on the site of the Ballina Beach Village. This assessment concluded that the operation of the Site, which includes the presence of domestic dogs, does not have a negative impact on the species. The assessment is included as Appendix A.

One species listed as “Endangered‟ under the TSC Act (the Pied Oyster Catcher) is known to nest in the vicinity of the Site. The pied oyster catcher is a shore bird, which does not appear on the Site. There is a buffer zone of 350 – 450 m between the Site and the species’ habitat on the beach and dunes. The buffer zone includes pedestrian and 4WD accesses to the beach. The pied oyster catcher breeding area stretches for 55km from the mouth of the Richmond River south to the Bundjalung National Park. The Site has a frontage of about 215m to the buffer zone. No direct impact on this species is anticipated.

1.3.3 Ballina Development Control Plan 2012

The Ballina Development Control Plan 2012 (BDCP) notes that:

Council discourages the keeping on dogs on lands adjoining the Coastal Reserve due to their recognised potential impact on the Pied Oystercatcher and requirements associated with the fox baiting program undertaken in the locality. Council recommends that restrictions be placed on the title of the land under Section 88E of the Conveyancing Act 1919 prohibiting the keeping of dogs. In the event that a proponent wishes to keep a dog the requirements documented under items vii and viii apply.

1.3.4 Principles of a Plan of Management

The following principles were established by the NSW Land and Environment Court to guide the creation of a Plan of Management:

  1. Do the requirements in the Management Plan relate to the proposed use and complement any conditions of approval?
  2. Do the requirements in the Management Plan require people to act in a manner that would be unlikely or unreasonable in the circumstances of the case?
  3. Can the source of any breaches of the Management Plan be readily identified to allow for any enforcement action?
  4. Do the requirements in the Management Plan require absolute compliance to achieve an acceptable outcome?
  5. Can the people the subject of the Management Plan be reasonably expected to know of its requirements?
  6. Is the Management Plan to be enforced as a condition of consent?
  7. Does the Management Plan contain complaint management procedures?
  8. Is there a procedure for updating and changing the Management Plan, including the advertising of any changes?

An assessment of this PoM against these principles is included in Section 4.

1.4 Report Structure

This report is set out as follows:

  • Section 2 provides a summary of the potential issues and impacts related to the presence of domestic dogs on the Site.
  • Section 3 provides a management strategy for domestic dogs on the Site.
  • Section 4 provides conclusions drawn from this PoM.

2.0 Issues and Impacts

This section outlines the existing fauna populations in the area along with an outline of the existing fauna management operations that are undertaken surrounding the Site. The potential impact of these on the Site is discussed.

2.1 Existing Fauna Populations

The following species are known to be present on, or surrounding, the Site:

  1. Pied Oyster Catcher (Haematopus longirostris) listed as “Endangered”; and
  2. Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) listed as “Vulnerable”.

Information about these species is presented below.

2.1.1 Pied Oyster Catcher

The following description is available on the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website (http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10386 (accessed 19-6-14))

Description

The Pied Oystercatcher is an unmistakable, large, black and white wader, reaching 50 cm in length. The sexes are similar, yet may be separable when together with the female having a slightly longer, more slender bill. When not in flight, the Pied Oystercatcher appears entirely black above, with white underparts. The back, head and breast are black, and the belly, rump and tail are white. The tail is tipped black. The wings are black with a narrow white bar on the upper wing and white underwing coverts. The eye- ring, iris and bill of the Pied Oystercatcher are brilliant scarlet and its legs are stout and coral pink. The most often heard call is a loud, sharp, high- pitched “kurvee-kurvee-kurvee‟, usually given in alarm, which increases in pitch and rapidity when a nest site is approached. The South Island Pied Oystercatcher (H. finschi) has recently been recorded as a vagrant in NSW. This New Zealand native can be distinguished by a combination of subtle differences, including a shorter bill and legs and differences in the extent of white on the back and wings.

Distribution

The species is distributed around the entire Australian coastline, although it is most common in coastal Tasmania and parts of Victoria, such as Corner Inlet. In NSW the species is thinly scattered along the entire coast, with fewer than 200 breeding pairs estimated to occur in the State. ‘Pied’ Oystercatchers are occasionally recorded on Lord Howe Island but it is uncertain which species is involved.

Habitat and ecology

The species favours intertidal flats of inlets and bays, open beaches and sandbanks. It forages on exposed sand, mud and rock at low tide, for molluscs, worms, crabs and small fish. The chisel- like bill is used to pry open or break into shells of oysters and other shellfish. The species nests mostly on coastal or estuarine beaches although occasionally they use salt marsh or grassy areas. Nests are shallow scrapes in sand above the high tide mark, often amongst seaweed, shells and small stones. Two to three eggs are laid between August and January. The female is the primary incubator and the young leave the nest within several days.

2.1.2 Glossy Black Cockatoo (GBC)

The following description is available on the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website (http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/animals/GlossyBlackCockatoos.htm (accessed 19-6-14))

What do they look like?

The glossy black-cockatoo is around 46-50 cm long and is generally smaller than other black-cockatoos. It is a brownish black colour and has a small crest.

There are some distinct differences in appearance between male and female birds. The male can be identified by the browner colour on the head and underparts and by bright red panels in the black tail. The female has a wider tail which is red to reddish-yellow, barred with black. The female may also have yellow markings around the head.

Where do they live?

The glossy black-cockatoo lives in coastal woodlands and drier forest areas, open inland woodlands or timbered watercourses where casuarinas (or sheoaks), its main food trees, are common. Scientists think that glossy black-cockatoos prefer to live in rugged country, where extensive clearing has not taken place. Brigalow scrub or hilly rocky country containing casuarina species tend to be their preferred habitat in inland NSW. The glossy black-cockatoo has a patchy distribution in Australia, having once been widespread across most of the south-eastern part of the country. It is now distributed throughout an area which extends from the coast near Eungella in eastern Queensland to Mallacoota in Victoria. An isolated population of glossy black-cockatoos is also known to live on Kangaroo Island in South Australia. The species has become regionally extinct in parts of western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. In NSW, the current distribution of the glossy black-cockatoo covers areas from the coast to the tablelands, and as far west as the Riverina and Pilliga Scrub.

What do they eat?

The glossy black-cockatoo generally prefers to feed from the seeds of mature casuarina trees. The birds’ presence is often indicated by a layer of cracked cones and fragments that have accumulated under favoured casuarina trees. A study in Eden, on the south coast of NSW, indicated that the glossy black-cockatoo is selective in its choice of food trees, choosing casuarinas that produce seeds with a high nutrient value. A pair of glossy black-cockatoos may make short visits to various feed trees in a small area, checking the quality of the seeds. Once satisfied, the pair will settle in the one feed tree and harvest all the cones within reach. Glossy black-cockatoos occasionally eat seeds from eucalypts, angophoras, acacias and hakeas, as well as eating insect larvae. In Central West NSW they also eat the seeds of cypress pine. Scientists estimate that the birds spend at least 88 per cent of their time foraging; the entire coastal area of South Ballina provides large numbers of GBC feed trees.

Breeding

The glossy black-cockatoo prefers to nest in the hollows of large, old eucalypt trees, alive or dead. The typical nest site will be around 3-30 m above the ground, and the nest hollow is generally lined with decayed debris. The birds tend to nest in the same areas as other nesting pairs, sometimes even sharing the same nest tree. In NSW, breeding takes place from March to August. One egg, white in colour, is produced. In some instances both the male and female parents will feed the chick, and the female will brood the chick overnight. At other times only the female will brood and feed the young. Researchers think that glossy black-cockatoos breed throughout their range, including Goonoo and Bidden state forests, the Narrandera Range and Rankin Spring.

Threats

Since European colonisation, a major threat to the survival of the glossy black-cockatoo is habitat loss -the clearing of casuarina trees in woodland areas, and the loss of mature eucalypts for nest hollows. The Riverina in NSW is one area in the bird’s range that has suffered a major decline in population due to the removal of habitat. There has also been evidence to suggest that some glossy black-cockatoos from this region have been trapped for the illegal bird trade.

Scientists think that to breed successfully, glossy black-cockatoos need food trees to be near their nest trees. Fragmentation of habitat reduces the chances of successful breeding.
Changes to patterns of bushfires in eastern Australia since European settlement have also contributed to the loss of habitat for the glossy black-cockatoo. Casuarina trees are very fire-sensitive, and are easily killed in an intense fire. Large dead trees where the birds nest may also be destroyed in a fire. Glossy black-cockatoos are also threatened by feral cats and possums, which raid the birds’ nests. They also suffer from competition for nests from galahs and introduced honeybees. The full impact of threats such as habitat clearing and modification on the glossy black-cockatoo is still unknown. As the bird has a relatively long life span, the effect of these threats may not yet be fully evident on population numbers.

Recognising these threats, the glossy black-cockatoo is listed as vulnerable in NSW under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. If action is not taken to stop these threats, the glossy black-cockatoo is likely to become endangered across its range in NSW.

The Section 5A assessment that was undertaken by Land and Fire Assessment Pty Ltd concluded that the human disturbance of habitat would not be an issue for the species and that dogs would be unlikely to pose a threat. This is further evidenced by the fact that the Site has been operating in its current (and proposed) layout and pet friendly manner for a number of years and this has not affected the behaviour of this species.   The report by Land and Fire Assessment Pty Ltd concludes that the GBC do not nest at the Site but rather are occasional visitors to a limited number of feed trees. Further, there are no GBC drinking sites at the Site.

2.2 Potential Future Impacts

2.2.1 Fox Baiting

Due to the significance of the local Pied Oyster Catcher population the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is involved with baiting and poisoning the wild population of European red foxes (Vulpes Vulpes). Although the baiting sites are approximately 1 km from the Site, should domestic dogs come into contact with bait intended for foxes it would be likely to pose a significant health hazard to the animal.

3.0 Management Strategies

This section outlines the management strategies that should be put in place to mitigate the risks outlined in Section 2.

3.1 Domestic Animal Management On-site

3.1.1 Site Owner’s Domestic Animals

Domestic animals owned by the Site owners should be managed in a manner that complies with Condition 11(b) of the consent for DA 2011/506, that being:

  1. b) In the event that dogs registered and/or owned by the managers are kept on the property, the following fenced dog enclosures and controls are to be established and maintained at all times:
  2. There shall be constructed and maintained a fenced enclosure immediately adjoining to the manager’s residence which is designed and constructed so as to provide a secure enclosure for keeping dogs.
  3. Any gate forming part of the enclosure shall be a self closing gate.

iii. No gate to the fenced enclosure shall be propped open or otherwise kept open other than for the purpose of passing through.

  1. During the fox baiting program on the subject site or on any adjoining Crown land, and/or nature reserve, dogs are not permitted on any part of the property outside the fenced dog enclosure ( that complies with the provisions outlined above) except under leash.

When not in the owners lodging, or adjacent fenced area, domestic animals should be managed in accordance with the provisions of the Companion Animals Act 1998, i.e:

  1. A dog that is in a public place must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of an adequate chain, cord or leash (except at declared off-leash areas); and
  2. Dogs and cats are prohibited from wildlife protection areas (applies to areas set aside by the local authority for the protection of wildlife).

3.1.2 Guest Domestic Animals

Guests’ domestic animals will be subject to the requirements set out in Appendix B.

Should an animal be found to be in breach of the requirements in Appendix B the following actions will be taken:

  1. If the animal is accompanied by the owner, the owner will be reminded of their responsibility to ensure that the animal complies with the requirements of this PoM.
  2. If the owner is unable to comply with these requirements they will be asked to vacate the Site and will forfeit any financial deposit.
  • If an animal is found loose within the Site, it will be restrained by Site management.
  1. If Site management is unable to restrain the animal, the appropriate authorities will be notified and the animal restrained and removed at the owner’s expense.

Contact details for Site management and for the local community ranger is included below.

Contact                                                           Phone Number
Ballina Beach Village Reception                 02 6686 3347
Local Council Ranger                                    02 6686 1210

3.2 Domestic Animal Management Off-site

When away from the Site, the management of animals is the owner’s responsibility.

Guests must be aware that during the breeding period for the Pied Oyster Catcher (July to November), there may be fox baiting conducted within the South Ballina Nature reserve. This is normally more than 1km from the Site boundary, and contained in areas where dogs are strictly not allowed. NPWS signage is erected to that effect.

This requirement is consistent with Condition 11(a) of the consent for DA 2011/506, that being:

  1. the owner/occupant recognise that a fox baiting program is implemented by the relevant Government Agencies from time to time and
  2. the owner/occupant must not raise objection to any fox baiting carried out in accordance with the South Ballina Fox Baiting Program.

3.3 Fencing of the Site

The following considerations must be made when assessing the appropriateness of installing a complete perimeter fence around the Site:

  1. Fencing impedes wildlife movements, particularly for small to medium sized mammals such as bandicoots, potoroos and wallabies.
  2. In the event of a fire fences restrict fire fighter access. Further, during wildfire events fencing can be dangerous not only to humans but wildlife and stock. Wildlife, such as wallabies, have been observed injuring themselves and suffering death from radiant heat against such structures.
  3. An Asset Protection Zone (APZ) has been established along the southern and eastern boundary of the Site. The APZ separates the Site assets from the bushland by distance of 35 m. If a fence were to be installed it would involve either:

– clearing existing bushland to enable the fence to be erected south and east of the APZ; or
– erecting a fence on the northern/western side of the APZ (within the Site), thereby making a significant section of the Site unusable and effectively imposing an acquisition of the Site owners land.

These considerations were highlighted in email communication between Ballina Beach Village and Ranger Andrew Fay of NPWS in August 2013. Ranger Andrew Fay’s position on this matter has been further endorsed by Mark Pittavino, NPWS Area Manager – Richmond River Area.

Fencing of the Site is not recommended as it could pose a risk to native and domestic fauna through placing unnecessary limitations in the case of a bushfire. Fencing of the Site is not considered necessary in circumstances where the management measures outlined within this section will be followed, particularly the requirement that dogs be kept on a leash. Further as outlined above, any fence of this nature may also pose a substantial risk to human life in the event of bushfire (both tourists and fire fighters).

3.4 Signage in the Site

In place of Site fencing, signage is in place around the perimeter of the Site. The types of signage that are in place surrounding the Site is outlined below:

PERIMETER SIGNAGE

Please ensure that your dogs are leashed at all time, they are not permitted outside the Village area;

BEACH ENTRANCE SIGNAGE

No dogs are allowed past this point. This is a Nature Reserve and dogs are strictly forbidden.

3.5 Ongoing Management

3.5.1 Complaints Procedure

Should any guest or neighbouring property owner have a cause to make a complaint about an animal within the Site, the Site management must maintain a register of the complaint and the steps that were taken to remedy the source of the complaint.

3.5.2 Plan Review

This PoM should be reviewed every five (5) years to ensure that it remains relevant to the operation of the Site.

4.0 Conclusion

4.1 Conclusion

This PoM has outlined management measures that will assist in the Site in managing the interaction between domestic animals and native fauna.

Provided that the management measures within and attached to this plan are followed, the Site should not cause any significant harm to local native fauna. Further, guest animals should not be at risk from local pest management regimes such as fox baiting.

4.2 Assessment of the Plan

The PoM has been developed in accordance with the NSW Lands and Environment Court principles that relate to Plans of Management. An assessment of the PoM against these principles is included below:

  1. Do the requirements in the Management Plan relate to the proposed use and complement any conditions of approval?

The PoM relates to a condition of consent applied to the Site. The condition was applied to the Site as part of the approval of DA 2011/506.

  1. Do the requirements in the Management Plan require people to act in a manner that would be unlikely or unreasonable in the circumstances of the case?

The PoM does not require anyone to behave in a manner that would be unlikely or unreasonable.

  1. Can the source of any breaches of the Management Plan be readily identified to allow for any enforcement action?

All animals within the Site must be tagged. Therefore the source of any breach of this PoM (e.g. the owner of a loose animal) can easily be identified.

  1. Do the requirements in the Management Plan require absolute compliance to achieve an acceptable outcome?

The requirements of this PoM do not require absolute compliance to achieve an acceptable outcome.

  1. Can the people the subject of the Management Plan be reasonably expected to know of its requirements?

All guests at the Site are required to sign a copy of Appendix B and are therefore fully aware of the requirements of this PoM.

  1. Is the Management Plan to be enforced as a condition of consent?

This PoM is required by, and enforced as, a condition of consent. The condition was applied to the Site as part of the approval of DA 2011/506.

  1. Does the Management Plan contain complaint management procedures?

Section 3.4.1 of this plan outlines the complaints procedure associated with this PoM.

  1. Is there a procedure for updating and changing the Management Plan, including the advertising of any changes?

Section 3.4.2 of this plan outlines the procedure for updating and changing the PoM.


Appendix B – Pet Management Requirements at Ballina Beach Village

The following statement is issued to, and an understanding of its content and agreement to abide by its requirements is signed by, each group at check in as part of the registration process.

  1. This is an “animal friendly” caravan park and camp ground and operates with Ballina Shire Council approval on this basis. The management and control of your dog whilst in the Shire is your responsibility.
  2. Whilst your animal/s are on the grounds of the Ballina Beach Village, they must be on a leash at all times. Cats are only allowed on the Site in cages.
  3. Ballina Shire Council has its own Rules and Regulations concerning companion animals, copies of which are available from management if requested (they are in the information racks of the kiosk).
  4. Owners must pick up all manure after animals, bag dispensers are provided throughout the park to manage animal waste.
  5. No barking or aggressive dogs.
  6. The beach in front is not pet friendly and therefore animals are not allowed under any circumstances onto South Ballina Beach (it is a National Park).
  7. The river area to the north of Ballina Beach Village is also a National Park and dogs are not allowed into that area.
  8. The animal friendly beach is Patches Beach – 10kms to the South, we can provide a map to that beach.
  9. There are certain areas within the village where from time to time animals are not allowed and this will be clearly designated by signage.
  10. Guests are required to sign an animal registration form at check in, describing the animal, the species, breed, name, contact details, and the owner must sign an undertaking to comply with all the above rules.
  11. A bond of $50 is taken either by credit card or in cash on all animals being registered with us.
  12. No guest may have an animal on site without registration as above.
  13. Guests must be aware that during the breeding period for the Pied Oyster Catcher (July to November), there may be fox baiting conducted within the South Ballina Nature reserve. This is normally more than 1km from the Site boundary, and contained in areas where dogs are strictly not allowed. Signage is erected to that effect.
  14. Once outside of the cabin and camping area you must stick to the marked trails when walking with your Animal.
  15. Animals must be fully registered and have an identification tag with name and phone number on a secure collar.
  16. Animals must be under the effective control of the owner at all times and cannot be left alone at any time
  17. Should Glossy Black Cockatoos be observed feeding in the Site, animals are not to be tied to feed trees or trees adjacent to feed trees.
  18. If any rule is breached, the management of the Ballina Beach Village reserves the right to ask the guest to leave without any refund of unused money or dog bonds.