THE City of Fremantle is considering a fenced-off dog exercise area at Stevens Reserve following a petition from the community.
The petition asked for a fenced-off area that would be suitable for small, young or timid dogs to exercise off the lead.
With Stevens Reserve already an approved off-leash area, the city asked for community feedback last month on the possibility of fencing off a small area of the reserve for the dog playground.
Infrastructure and Project Delivery acting director Lionel Nicholson said Stevens Reserve was a popular space for dog exercise and was already well used by residents.
“The proposed fenced area would be located in a currently under-utilised area of the park that fits well with the plans for future cricket facilities,” he said.
“As it is already an off-leash exercise area, no changes are required to the existing bylaw, which would be required and far more difficult to manage at a reserve that was an on-leash area only.
“The city has spoken with the relevant sporting clubs, who are supportive of the enclosure idea and its location given it doesn’t impact on the future plans to develop additional cricket practise facilities on the reserve.”
Fremantle councillor Ingrid Waltham said it was a way to give the community something they wanted without detracting from those who still wanted to use the wider open space of the reserve.
“Unfortunately there has been a strong backlash from other members of the dog-walking community who felt very strongly that they didn’t want this facility,” she said.
“Their objections include the cost, the location and the perceived lack of need for it, and some objectors seemed to believe this enclosure meant all dog walkers had to use it and that it was the first step in preventing people from using the wider reserve.
“This was never the intention and the reserve would remain open for all those who wish to walk their dogs there.
“It is very unfortunate that such a well-intended community facility has turned out to be so divisive, but I am hoping that taking everyone’s concerns into consideration, a happy solution can be reached.”
The City of Cockburn recently set up a similar facility at the Yarra Vista Park in Jandakot, and Community Services manager Rob Avard said it had been popular amongst local dog owners
A Fremantle Hockey Club spokesperson said the club, who uses the reserve as their home base, believed the fenced off area would be in the scrubland adjacent to the main playing fields and would not interfere with any of the current playing surfaces.
Visit www.fremantle.wa.gov.au for preliminary designs..