Since summer there has been a surge in the number of horse trainers using the beaches between Warrnambool and Killarney for training race horses.
Horses have been galloping past people on the beach, some of the horses have been unpredictable,access on/off the beach is dangerous, the carparks are full of floats and the locals are left with poo and stench.
But the most critical effects of the horse training has been on the beach birds trying to nest. Horses have been galloping over the soft sand at the top of the beach where they nest. Over nearly all of the beaches.
On some stretches of beach the birds were forced off completely, others tried to nest but the nests were trampled and some tried repeatedly all summer but couldn't succeed in the traffic. If chicks were born, it was impossible to feed on the sand or get down to the water without getting trampled.
The Parks Vic ranger and volunteers made huge efforts to get some endangered hooded plover chicks to survive the horses and other threats, but if this level of horse training continues, the beach birds will not be able to breed on these beaches. It will be a matter of time before they are locally extinct.
Moyne Council, WCC and Parks Vic please get some regulations sorted out before the birds are gone and people get injured. You are responsible for managing these beaches for the environment as well as for recreation, the protection of the birds are stated in your coastal strategies.
The birds (and the people) need a beach, not a race track.
Toni Ryan, Tower Hill