A COMMUNITY group has called for commercial horse trainers to stop using Killarney beach until a management plan can be devised.
Moyne Shire, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and Parks Victoria plan to meet on June 15 to discuss the matter.
In the meantime, the Belfast Coastal Reserve Action Group (BCRAG) has asked for “a voluntary moratorium on commercial horse training on the Killarney beaches, until a management plan and some local laws or regulations can be put in place”.
BCRAG has put its request in writing to the South West Owners & Trainers Association (SWOTA) “in the interests of public safety”.
SWOTA treasurer Tammy Good said the association had drafted a response to address some of the “misinformation”, but added it would not stop using the beach in the interim.
“(We’ve) always been one of many groups using the beaches and we’re more than happy to co-exist with everyone – we’ve been using these beaches for 70 years or more,” Ms Good said.
“The biggest issue is the massive increase in (the number of horses training at Killarney) – that’s brought things to a head. These are the facts – we do have insurance, we are registered, and we have been in negotiations with Moyne Shire since February.”
BCRAG has also written to state environment minister Lily D'Ambrosio expressing its concerns, with group spokesperson Bill Yates saying it wanted “the government to step in to give us our beaches back”.
“We want commercial horse trainers to stop forcing us off the beach and stop damaging the environment,” Mr Yates said.
“At the moment, it’s Rafferty’s rules out there for commercial horse trainers, with people and endangered wildlife forced off, the beach churned up, carparks full of horse vans, piles of horse faeces and pools of urine.
“We understand the economic and social benefits that the racing industry brings to the area, but what price do you put on public safety and protection of the environment and wildlife?”