A new off-leash dog park is being proposed by Gunnedah Shire Council, with Athol Gallen Park the front runner as a community consultation period opens.
The motion was raised at council’s April meeting, and while the public space off Walter Rodd Street has been nominated as the best proposed site, not all councillors agree.
Councillor Ann Luke stated that it was council’s “obligation to the community to have an unleased area”, and believed the area adjacent to the skate park would “best suit the needs.”
In calling for community feedback GSC’s Manager Public Facilities Geoff Phillips agreed.
“Athol Gallen Park has access from Ashford’s Watercourse walk and cycle-way, Winder Place, Walter Rodd Street, as well as Baxter Street,” he said.
“There is already parking for six to seven vehicles and sufficient shade.”
Currently the Gunnedah LGA has one off leash area, although the Woolshed Reserve site on Maitland Street is deemed unsuitable due to being unfenced and on the flood plain.
“At this stage, we are just trying to gather people’s thoughts and views. We hope that, if approved, an off-leash area will encourage people to exercise their dogs there,” Mr Phillips said.
“It’s important to provide a secure recreational area for them to get outdoors and to encourage responsible pet ownership as well. Feedback received by Council consistently calls for a fenced area.”
However Councillor Colleen Fuller, while agreeing with the need for an off leash park, did not concur with the proposed site.
"I think there is enough issues with dogs in that area of town, and I think it will only get worse as the Wandobah area of town is the growth corridor and continues to grow,” she said.
"I don't think adding a dog park to that area will do anything to help the current issues."
It is hoped that the month long community consultation period will assist in getting a clear understanding of the needs and concerns of the town’s dog owners and relevant stakeholders.
Councillor Murray O’Keefe rubbished the idea of the proposed parking adding to any animal control issues, instead stating that “if anything giving our pets a chance to socialise will only help any anti-social behavior.”
“I think any public conversation about the location of the park will bring any of these kinds of issues to light and help flesh them out as well as provide more suggestions for suitable locations."
The council survey can be accessed on its website, or a hard copy can be obtained from Gunnedah Shire Council’s Administration Building in Elgin Street.
The survey must be submitted by 5.00pm on Thursday May 31.
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