Councillors have approved the creation of seven dedicated dog off-leash spaces across the shire, but when the project finally gets going is anyone’s guess.
This article was first published in the 17 May 2018 edition of the Baw Baw Citizen.
Dog off-leash areas are now on the cards for Darnum Recreation Reserve, Drouin’s Bellbird Park, Rawson’s Dustan Oval and St Phillack Reserve, Trafalgar’s Linear Reserve, Warragul’s Brooker Park, and Yarragon’s Downton Park.
The Warragul, Drouin, and Trafalgar sites will be fully-featured dog parks.
Councillors last month unanimously passed a motion modified by East Ward’s Darren Wallace and Central Ward’s Mikaela Power. The changes will see plans for some sites, including Trafalgar’s and Warragul’s, go back to the public for additional consultation.
“These areas will allow dog owners to exercise their animals off the lead,” Cr Wallace said on moving the motion.
“Some dogs require more vigorous exercise than others, and simply walking is not enough.”
The full-scale dog parks will be “fully fenced, including dog litter bin and bags, signage, water, agility equipment, with the minor parks to have litter bins and bags supplied.”
But while the motion has the council’s full and enthusiastic support, it was Cr Wallace’s next line that might have some dog owners frustrated.
“At this stage though, no money is within the budget for these projects to be completed,” he said.
“The three premium parks could cost anywhere up to $139,000 to complete, with another few thousand for minor equipment at the other locations.
“This project, like many others, will need to get into the queue for funding. Supporting this project tonight doesn’t guarantee funding in next year’s budget, it just puts [the off-leash areas] in amongst the many other worthy [projects seeking] funding.”
During Baw Baw’s 2016 off-leash area consultation period, 124 submissions were received. Of those, 69 per cent were supportive.
No timeframe for completion has been set, but works will be considered when Baw Baw drafts its 2018/19 budget.
Image: Sable at the Warragul Farmers’ Market
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