State and local governments at odds over dog park plan

by SANDI MILLER
8th July 2024

IN THE 2023/24 Budget, the State Government announced $300,000 funding for a dog park at Stiggant Reserve.
Member for North Eastern Metropolitan Sonja Terpstra said, after “protracted negotiations” with Manningham Council, last month it was announced the dog park would instead be located at the northern oval at Warrandyte Reserve.
In Doncaster, Council has also diverted a planned dog park at Lawford Reserve to Burgundy Reserve.
Ms Terpstra said the funding package at Warrandyte was intended for the construction of a fully fenced off-leash area.
“An off-leash park where everyone can go [to their dogs] ‘knock yourself out in there’,” she told the Diary.
Manningham Mayor Carli Lange spoke to the Diary about what Council is intending for the funding.
“The improvements we’re considering for Warrandyte Reserve include essential features such as water bowls, shelter and shade, as well as upgrades to paths for improved connectivity.
“We are not intending to convert the reserve into a dedicated off-lead space, but rather provide these facilities to complement the current uses of this park for our broader community,” she said.
Dog poo left on ovals and along shared walking trails is a contentious issue, which the Diary has covered over the years through Letters to the Editor, cartoons, and articles. Uncollected feces by a few irresponsible pet owners on our sports ovals is also a regular issue on social media — especially with regards to kids turning up for footy training and having to dodge dog poo that has been left on the oval.
Council’s modified dog park plans will not alleviate this. Cr Lange said these proposed changes align with the objectives of the State Government’s New and Upgraded Dog Parks Program.
The State Government’s website says the dog parks program aims to:

  • Invest in under-utilised public land for Victorians to connect with their communities and exercise their dogs.
  • Invest in informal and formal offleash areas to meet the growing demand for people to socialise and exercise their dog off-leash.
  • Contribute to urban greening, cooling and shading of local neighbourhoods.
  • Improve connectivity of open spaces with other points of interest and activity.

However, Ms Terpstra said she has reservations about the lack of fencing and the space being shared between “dogs running around and people with footballs”.
Cr Lange said Council looks forward to starting community consultation in mid-July 2024.
“Dog parks are an important feature in Manningham’s Public Open Space; Council will consider further upgrades of other facilities when funding becomes available in the second round of the State Government’s New and Upgraded Dog Parks Program,” Cr Lange said.
She said Council would consult the community before delivering final designs early in 2025.
“We expect the projects to be delivered in mid-2026 and thank the State Government for their contribution to improvements for our community,” she said.
These projects are part of the Government’s $315 million Open Space for Everyone program.

Tell us what you think

Does Warrandyte need a dedicated dog park, or is Council right in simply providing more facilities for dogs to continue to share the oval?
Send your thoughts on this issue to editor@warrandytediary.com.au.