A council proposal to establish an off-leash dog park near coastal rookery in Bicheno has raised concerns about the safety of nearby little penguin colonies.
Glamorgan-Spring Bay Council has released a list of locations for six new dog parks, including in public land just to the north of a recreation ground behind Bicheno Primary School, with access via the Esplanade.
The proposal has angered Friends of Bicheno Penguins after at least another 14 penguins were killed in Bicheno this week along Waubs Esplanade near the blowhole. A further 45 were killed in a dog attack in November.
Group chairperson Lyn Hatton said there were clear issues with the choice of location.
"It's a tiny space, and it's adjacent to a penguin rookery," she said.
"For people to get there, they'd have to walk through the rookery - the habitat for the penguins - or through the oval where you're not allowed to have dogs.
"We all agree that Bicheno needs a dog park, but not next to a beach."
The land sits next to the closed Silver Sands Motel and is largely used by travellers with campervans.
Bicheno Community Development Association president Jenny Logie said the council faced a "dilemma" in finding a suitable location, given the lack of available public land away from the foreshore.
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She said the fencing of the dog park would allay some fears for the penguins, but the plan also relied on dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash before they reached the park.
"It's not the site itself, it's the way people interact with these things," Ms Logie said.
"The fencing means that dogs getting out of there is not the issue. The issue could be that you're taking more dogs to an area that's very close for a rookery, and the risk is that people will not have them on leads when they go near the rookery.
"I think there is a higher risk of problems for being anywhere near the rookeries."
Other proposed dog parks include areas at existing recreation grounds in Triabunna and Orford, along with the Swansea Esplanade, Buckland Cricket Club and Swanwick public open space in Coles Bay.
Mayor Debbie Wisby said she was not in a position to comment on the proposal.
Cameras considered to protect penguins from attack
Glamorgan-Spring Bay Council will investigate the pros and cons of installing cameras at beaches and other coastal areas to monitor penguins in light of another fatal dog attack in Bicheno.
At a council workshop on Tuesday, councillors requested the general manager provide a report into the feasibility of cameras, including costs, risks, efficiency and privacy considerations.
The report was expected to be finished in October.
Ten council staff members would also receive training in dog handling, with the power to carry out functions under the Dog Management Act.
Mayor Debbie Wisby said full-time rangers was unlikely to be a realistic solution given the size of the coastline and cost constraints for the council.
"We're not going to have 10 full-time dog rangers, but we will have people skilled to address these matters," she said.
"It's difficult because there's no consistency to where the penguins are being killed. It's a long coastline - they don't just go home to 44 Esplanade, Bicheno, or the same place every time.
"We could have a ranger at the beach, but then if the attack happens at another corner of the beach, they wouldn't be able to see that attack.
"We could have 10 rangers along the beach 24 hours a day, but people would see their rates increase significantly. A council can only do so much - we can't be everywhere at all times."