New coastal subdivision may forbid cats and dogs

BUYERS of prospective sites on a controversial housing subdivision approved by Warrnambool City Council Monday night will be encouraged to bring their golf clubs, but not cats and dogs.

The 47-lot residential development on Younger and O'Brien streets has been in the wings for years before finally getting the green light.

It will provide a revenue stream for Warrnambool Golf Club and the Coffey family, which separately own the land to be carved up.

Fifteen written objections from nearby residents were lodged.

Unanimous approval from six councillors presiding over the decision came with a huge list of about 140 conditions on the planning permit to satisfy a range of concerns raised by objectors and authorities concerning traffic, noise, flooding and environmental risks.

Another requirement may be added to the list that cats and dogs be banned because of a threat to the nearby coastal habitat of native birds and animals.

Cr Jacinta Ermacora won a 4-2 vote for her suggestion that the council's local laws be reviewed.

"This is an important innovation we already have areas where cats and dogs are not allowed, for example Lake Pertobe," she said.

"This is a unique wedge between the dunes and river in a pristine environment.

"It (the ban) was suggested by residents.

"DEPI (Department of Environment and Primary Industries) recommended pet restrictions to minimise damage to native fauna, particularly hooded plovers.

"Perhaps other areas of Warrnambool could also be considered."

In response to concerns raised by Cr Brian Kelson about animals needed by the elderly and people with disabilities, Cr Ermacora said she believed there was already provision in local laws for companion animals.

Mayor Michael Neoh said the review could consider making exemptions.

Cr Peter Sycopoulis said he was torn between supporting development versus pressure on the environment.

"The number of conditions for the permit I think will ensure it's done in a proper manner," he said.

The project has a controversial history, particularly when the council transferred title ownership to the club in 2005.

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