THE City of Joondalup will get its first fenced dog exercise area at Elcar Park in Joondalup with construction to be completed by June.
City centre resident Noeleen Ottaviano said she put forward the idea of a dog park, saying people were now living on “smaller lots with more concrete paved areas”.
Cr Kerry Hollywood then raised the idea in December 2016, with the council later listing $150,000 in the City’s 2018-19 budget for the construction of a dog park including agility equipment for the dogs and bench seating for walkers.
The City sought community feedback, with five potential locations – Bramston Park in Burns Beach, Chichester Park in Woodvale, Elcar, Emerald Park in Edgewater and Melene Park in Duncraig – meeting the criteria of being a minimum of 3500m sq, with a minimum of 30m buffer from adjacent residences, and preferably with a toilet and car parking facilities.
The City received 1234 responses with most indicating they either “supported” or “strongly supported” the proposal for a dog.
Elcar Park was favoured by respondents and found to be the most accessible, particularly for people who live in the Joondalup city centre where there are limited options for dog exercise.
At this month’s council meeting, Cr Hollywood said the Winton Road park was under-utilised and a dog park would be a “creative use” and could help with “passive surveillance of the area”.
“Many owners, particularly the elderly or those with disabilities or those with fast and athletic dogs, often do not feel comfortable letting their dogs off lead for fear they will run away,” she said.
“This will allow people to let their dogs off the lead so they can run around with other dogs freely in their own enclosed play area.”
Elcar Lane businessowner Antonio Di Florio said many of the businesses in the area worked with young children, including those with disabilities or challenging behaviours who used the park to reduce stress and anxiety.
He believed the best use of the park would be to install play equipment to bring more visitors to the area and support local businesses but said if the council approved the dog park, a playground could enhance the project.
In response, Cr Hollywood said the children using the park would be safer with dogs kept inside the enclosed area.
Cr Tom McLean also said the fenced dog area would be less than half the park so there would be “a lot of unfenced area to be used for other purposes”.
However, Cr Russell Poliwka said this was a “hard business environment” and it was not appropriate for a dog park.
“I don’t see the logic and cant see any support from nearby tenants,” he said.
“It would take up a big whack of a significant park that could be utilised with a more business focus.
“I’m not prepared to prioritise dogs over businessowners.”
But Mayor Albert Jacob said having a dog exercise area at Elcar Park raised the least concerns and there was already extensive parking.
He also believed it would bring more customers to the area, “particularly on weekends”.
The proposal was approved 12-1.
After the meeting, Mrs Ottaviano said she had been researching several parks to find the “most suitable with the least disturbance”.
She said Elcar Park was a great location because it would give the nearby businesses more exposure and there were no residents to be affected.
She said she was “really happy” with the council’s decision and hoped the fenced area would be divided to separate small and big dogs.
The remainder of Elcar Park outside of the fenced exercise area will require dogs to be kept on a leash.