CITY of Canning recommended rejecting a petition for the extension of the dog exercise area on the Canning River foreshore in Shelley, at last week’s Agenda Briefing.
The recommendation comes after Council received a petition in December 2016 signed by 36 residents from 29 households requesting the off-leash dog walking area be extended to join up two areas located downstream of Shelley Bridge and surrounding Watersby Crescent.
Petitioner Andrew Morrison said dog exercise locations along the Shelley foreshore were restrictive and inconsistent and denied dog freedom to roam away from speeding cyclists in locations of natural interest to them such as trees, bushes and beaches.
Mr Morrison said he was disappointed with the City’s recommendation.
“I think it is fundamentally flawed in many ways. It lacks logic and is a bit inconsistent,” he said.
He said a useful compromise would be for the council to agree to extend the off-lead dog exercise area under Shelley Beach 200m towards the point near Linkwater Street and 20m upstream.
He said one of his dogs had been hit be a cyclist and another had a near miss and he was keen to be able to allow dogs off leash along the beach, away from the danger of cyclists.
Councillor Patrick Hall planned to foreshadow a motion at this week’s council meeting to designate the stretch of beach from Shelley Bridge up to the point near Linkwater Street as an off-lead dog exercise area.
Cr Hall, who is a dog owner and the former chief executive of the Dogs Refuge Home in Shenton Park, said there was not a proper off-lead dog exercise area in Shelley.
He said almost the entire foreshore in Rossmoyne was an off-lead dog exercise area and Shelley residents wanted to have a similar amenity in their suburb.
“This is a really important community issue to Shelley residents,” he said.
“We are just trying to balance up what occurs in Rossmoyne. It has never been a problem there.
“I accept that dogs are not everybody’s cup of tea but I would like to see a compromise,” he said.
Canning River Residents Environmental Protection Association (CRREPA) is against the petitioners’ proposal to extend the dog exercise area, citing in a letter to the council the danger of ad hoc incremental change, an imbalance between the extent of existing on-leash and dog exercise areas and the current lack of compliance by dog owners.
CRREPA president Stephen Johnston said the Shelley-Rossmoyne foreshore required an updated management plan against which all proposals could be considered.
“Because the Rossmoyne-Shelley section of the Canning River is so shallow, it is a particular valuable waterbird resting and feeding area. The birds provide tempting targets for unrestrained dogs. While rarely caught by the dogs, the birds may move away from an area after repeated attacks,” he said.
“Dogs when not on a leash are more likely to leave droppings behind. They can race in and frighten birds away. We have a wonderful range of birds along the Canning. One of the attractions of this section of the foreshore is that the birds happily roost and feed near foreshore park.”
Mr Johnston said the proposed extension would likely lead to an increase in the amount and distribution of dog faeces along the foreshore and had the potential to increase the incidence of cyclist accidents caused by dogs.
“Every year cyclists come to grief as dogs off-leash suddenly cross their path, run close to the wheels or jump up at them,” he said.
Riverton Rossmoyne & Shelley Residents’ Association secretary Caroline Dunsire called on Council to develop a master plan for the entire length of the foreshore, taking into consideration not only the dog walking areas but also other issues such as littler bins, exercise pods and fencing to protect vegetation.
In a letter to Council, a Department of Parks and Wildlife spokesperson said the department did not support the proposal, stating extension of the dog exercise area would have a negative impact on foreshore vegetation.
Majority of feedback against dog park
IN January, the City of Canning sought comment from the owners of 72 properties across the road from the proposed new dog exercise areas and other stakeholders.
Of the 45 people who responded to the City’s call for feedback, the majority opposed extending the dog exercise area, with 17 respondents in support of the idea.
A City report said approximately 60 per cent of the roughly 6km of foreshore from Yagan Reserve to Shelley Bridge was designated for off-leash dog exercise and for approximately 40 per cent of the length of foreshore, dogs were required to be on-leash.