Should dog park be fenced?

By Ellen-Maree Elliot

DOG OWNERS whose pooches love zooming around at the dog off-leash area at Waterfront Park in Newstead have mixed feelings about a proposal to fence the area.

Councillor for Hamilton Ward David McLachlan said the proposal was to fence the dog off-leash area currently marked out by brightly coloured bollards, but that would be subject to community consultation, and he understood it could be “a vexed issue”.

“Dogs don’t recognise coloured bollards in the ground, and owners haven’t always been good at keeping their dogs in that area,” he said.

“What I’ve asked the council’s landscape architects to do is to draw up a design for a fenced area and I’m sure I’ll get lots of feedback.”

Kelly Henderson used to live in the area but now drives from Lutwyche so her dog Basil can use the dog park, which she says is “a really good place for little dogs”.

“Basil’s grown up at this park. This is our community.”

“I’m really happy with the off-leash park and I’m happy that it doesn’t have fences. Most of the dogs are really well-behaved,” she said.

Michael Farrell, who lives in the Gasworks development, takes his dog, Murphy, to the park and said it would be better when fenced – although he had some concerns.

“What they’ve currently allocated is probably too small, there’s a lot of dogs in these apartments,” he said.

“Probably what needs fencing is around the kids pay area to stop the dogs heading into the playground.”

He said there needed to be more watering of the area to stop it being “a big dust bowl”.

Jane Murphy heads to the park twice a day with her dog and said it provided a space for “a great community”.

“I don’t think there needs to be any drastic changes – everyone’s enjoying the ability to have their dogs free,” she said.

“I don’t go to the dog park at New Farm Park because there’s not as much opportunity for dogs to interact naturally.”

She said if it was a big perimeter, fencing it would be “fair enough” but if it was small there might not be enough room for all the dogs.

“Watering is one of the biggest things. It’s a bit of a dust bowl, if it was watered more it would be great,” she said.

Cr McLachlan said he expected to have more detailed plans of the proposal before the end of the year.