City of Bayswater council rejects proposal to make all parks dog exercise areas


Jennie Arts with Shireen Svensson and Loki. The City of Bayswater has embarked on a review of its existing and potential dog exercise areas in an effort to provide clarity around the rights and responsibilities of all park users. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d479184
Jennie Arts with Shireen Svensson and Loki. The City of Bayswater has embarked on a review of its existing and potential dog exercise areas in an effort to provide clarity around the rights and responsibilities of all park users. Picture: Andrew Ritchie www.communitypix.com.au d479184

COMMUNITY concern over the increased number of dog attacks in the City of Bayswater has led the council to reject an officer’s recommendation to make all parks dog exercise areas.

In 2016, there were 96 dog attacks which increased to 126 in 2017, while so far this year there have been 41 attacks.

The City has 5479 registered dogs but officers believe this represented 50 per cent of resident dogs because not all owners registered their dogs.

There are currently 41 off-leash dog exercise areas within the City.

At last night’s council meeting, Friends of Maylands Lakes, Friends of Lightning Swamp Bushland members and other residents questioned the need for more off-lead areas and wanted more consultation.

Following a review of dog exercise areas done in February, officers recommended that all parks be considered as dog exercise areas with some exceptions.

Councillor Filomena Piffaretti’s alternate motion to make no change to dog exercise areas, unless specified, was passed 6-1.

Cr Brent Fleeton voted against it.

The motion included Bert Wright Park and part of Riverside Gardens West to longer be dog exercise areas.

There will be no dog exercise areas within 5m of lakes and carparks and within 20m of playgrounds, regardless of whether the park is a specified dog exercise area.

Any park or reserve during a community event or sporting activity will not be a dog exercise area.

Designs and costs for a specialist dog park separated for large and small dogs at Strutt Way Reserve in Noranda with fencing, dog agility equipment, water fountains and shade will be developed.

At Bardon Park, the open grassed area in the northern portion, adjacent to Fourth Avenue East and Bardon Place, will be a dog exercise area.

Deputy Mayor Chris Cornish’s amendment for the area vertically south from the corner of the carpark and entire beach area at Riverside Gardens to be off-lead, was passed.

Riverside Gardens East will be considered as a new dog exercise area.

There will be education programs, two major ranger enforcement campaigns and new signage, which the council will consider funding at $20,000 in the 2018-19 budget.

Any comments received during the public notice period on the change and a report will come back to council for them to make a final decision.

Councillors’ concerns over dog owners

Cr Piffaretti said she was not confident all owners had control of their dogs.

“As a resident of the City of Bayswater, I for one want the option to visit a local park without being concerned about a dog off-the-lead encroaching on my space or attacking my children,” she said.

“If we make all parks off-lead dog exercise areas, that option is taken away from me and everyone else and people may be less likely to go out and enjoy the City’s parks.

“We should be encouraging people, especially children, to get outdoors and enjoy our parks – not introducing policies which create anxiety or barriers for those uncomfortable around off-lead dogs.”

Cr Fleeton, whose deferral motion was lost, said it would be hard for the City and rangers to police the 5m and 20m restrictions around lakes, carparks and playgrounds.

“I hate the idea of dogs off-lead in general, I have got a German shepherd and I never let him off the lead,” he said.

“I would hate to think our parks turned into mayhem.

“More broadly, the entire review is a waste of time and money.

“This whole idea that we can educate people through local council and rangers through the allocation of funds for a two-day a year education program – we are kidding ourselves.”

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