Dogs have been banned from a sandbar that has formed at the western end of Altona beach where the Esplanade meets Apex Park.
As reported by Star Weekly in February, world renowned filmmaker and Altona resident Wain Fimeri had raised concerns about people crossing the sandbar which had formed over the mouth of Laverton Creek at Altona and accessing world-listed wetlands.
The sandbar next to Doug Grant Reserve – a dog off-leash area – has extended the habitat area of Cheetham Wetlands, which is internationally recognised under the Ramsar environmental treaty and home to more than 200 bird species.
From this area, the short-tailed shearwater migrates each year to Siberia and Alaska – one of the longest migrations of any life form on earth.
Last week’s Hobsons Bay council meeting voted for the Laverton Creek Spit area to be made an exclusion zone for dogs in order to protect the significant conservation area.
Cr Sandra Wilson said Parks Victoria had declared the spit one of the most significant feeding areas for migratory shorebirds and other seabirds.
“This is on our doorstep and many people come from across the city, from interstate, from overseas to come and look at the significant birdlife that we have on our doorstep,“ she said.
She said in future she would propose naming the body of water that had formed as Shorebird Lagoon.
Fimeri applauded the council’s decision.
“The western end of Altona beach is the beginning of a UNESCO world heritage wetlands – internationally recognised and crucial to the global movement of migratory birds,“ he said.
“If it were a pyramid, or an Angkor Wat, or a palace at Versailles, we would protect it fiercely.
“It is a treasure and it’s in our backyard.
“We often remind ourselves to think globally and act locally. Here is our chance.
“We are the custodians of this remarkable place. It is our responsibility, and heartfelt congratulations are due the Hobsons Bay council for this decision.“
Community consultation will be carried out on the changes and on fences to be erected.