Moyne Shire Council has knocked back a proposed amendment to local laws that would have banned dogs and "toy vehicles" in central Port Fairy.
The proposal sparked unprecedented outcry, with council receiving almost 500 submissions, an all time record for the shire.
The vast majority of the submissions were strongly against the change, which would have outlawed dogs, scooters, skateboards and similar vehicles between 9am and 6pm during the peak tourist period between Christmas Eve and Easter Monday in the centre of town.
The ban would have applied in Sackville Street between Bank Street and Cox Street, and Bank Street between Princes Street and James Street.
The council also received a petition with 1455 names opposed to the amendment as well as a joint letter with 16 signatures supporting the change.
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Among the feedback were dozens of submissions from regular Port Fairy visitors who said they would never return to the town if the ban became law.
Councillor Jordan Lockett, a lifelong Port Fairy resident, spoke strongly against the change.
"It's a simple basic right to be able to walk down the street with your dog," he said.
"Many people have said they simply won't come back to Port Fairy if they cant bring their dogs with them. I think the community feedback really speaks for itself."
Cr Damian Gleeson, Cr Lockett's opponent in the mayoral race, also rejected the change, but said people shouldn't consider dog ownership an unfettered right.
"I think we confuse rights with privileges. Walking your dog is not a right, it's a privilege." he said.
He commended Cr James Purcell for bringing the issue to council in the first place, saying it was a legitimate concern, and he sent a warning to residents.
"Be on notice people, be responsible parents, be responsible dog owners," he said.
"I'd be really disappointed if we had a whole lot of incidents this summer. This will be a great summer to just sit back and evaluate."
Cr Purcell was the only councillor to back the ban, despite the clear community feedback.
"I've heard all the arguments for and against many many times. Safety is paramount for me, so I can't support it," he said.
"There's a huge number of locals who really think we should do something. I don't think there's a right or a wrong in it, but I can't support the recommendation (to reject the proposal)."
Moyne Shire CEO Bill Millard said the right decision had been made to reject the changes, but the process had been a valuable reminder to the community.
"We all know Port Fairy is a popular spot over the summer period - so we all need to do our bit to make sure it can be enjoyed by everyone, keep your dog under control, make sure you clean up after it and if your little ones are enjoying a ride or scoot up the street, take other footpath users into consideration." he said.
"I'm looking forward to seeing lots of people back in main streets of Port Fairy this summer enjoying a coffee or lunch supporting our fantastic local businesses with their dog and kids out and about on their scooters and bikes."
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