Should dogs and bikes be allowed on footpaths in Broadwater Canal precinct?

It's a dog fight: Broadwater Canal residents - and their pooches - Anita Abel (Teddy), Mick Goodwin (bruce), Helga Collins (Haley and Sasha), Andrew Crane (C.J), Helen McGee (Frankie), Rob Brusdon (Macca) and Sheila Wick (Poppy and Tinker) are up in arms over upgraded signage prohibiting dogs and bikes from footpaths in the precinct. Photo: Ivan Sajko
It's a dog fight: Broadwater Canal residents - and their pooches - Anita Abel (Teddy), Mick Goodwin (bruce), Helga Collins (Haley and Sasha), Andrew Crane (C.J), Helen McGee (Frankie), Rob Brusdon (Macca) and Sheila Wick (Poppy and Tinker) are up in arms over upgraded signage prohibiting dogs and bikes from footpaths in the precinct. Photo: Ivan Sajko

Are footpaths in the Broadwater Canal precinct private property or public access?

Angst is growing over the placing of extra signage and footpath stencils by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council prohibiting access to some paths for cyclists and dog owners within areas of the precinct.

So incensed are some residents that they plan a group protest dog walk on Sunday, May 21 opposing the erection and stencilling of the signage.

The Broadwater Residents Action Group protest will start at 9am at the southern end of the Broadwater canal weir, with entry via River Park Road.

An Action Group member has taken up the matter and in a series of letters to council is asking for clarification over a range of issues which ultimately led to the erection of the signage.

Mick Goodwin says he wrote to council on behalf of a number of concerned residents who reside in the canal precinct and the wider area.

"Our concerns relate to the addition of signage prohibiting the walking of dogs and riding of bikes on certain designated footpaths within the precinct which have been deemed Private Property," he said.

“We are also concerned about the process involved and the consultation process that allegedly took place about this issue.

"I've taken up the matter via several letters to council senior staff and all councillors. I am still waiting on a response.

I've taken up the matter via several letters to council senior staff and all councillors. I am still waiting on a response.

Mick Goodwin

"We want people and their dogs to use these footpaths, and use it however they want.

"This is in the best interests of everyone."

Mr Goodwin said he was surprised to see the signs go up which prohibits dogs and their owners from the footpaths.

"I mean, these people are complaining about owners not picking up after their dogs," Mr Goodwin said.

"I walk my dog on the footpath and the biggest worry I've got is make sure my dog doesn't eat the duck crap.

"There's thousands of ducks down there, there's duck crap everywhere and these people (supporting the signs) are worried about an owner not picking up after their dog. Seriously?

"Our other complaint is the lack of consultation with residents. I cannot find any reference to consultation, the results of consultation and the decision making process within council.

"This erection of this signage has come as a complete surprise to myself and every other resident I have spoken to.

"I think the process and ultimate decision to erect the signage is flawed. And if this is the case, that signage should be removed immediately until proper community consultation is completed in a transparent manner."

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council was approached for comment. Council has confirmed it meets quarterly with the Broadwater Canal Reference Group.