MOREE councillor John Tramby has mined concerns over a proposed fenced, off-leash dog park at the south end of Moree, saying the site posits too many obstacles.
“Choosing an appropriate site is always a difficult process. In the past, council has received a lot of complaints from the community when we suggest a site in a residential area,” he said.
The proposed block of land on the corner of Jones Avenue and Boston Street, was once the site for the old Bureau of Meteorology. Today, a damaged security fence borders the property and lush, overgrown grass is rampant.
An earlier investigation revealed the site had been used as an illegal dumping ground. It is believed turning the neglected site into a dog park will deter dumpers. Even so, cr Tramby said surrounding homes had to be considered in the decision-making process.
“Off-leash parks are open 24/7. If an owner decides to take their noisy dog to the site at night, that risks noise pollution, which can disrupt people who are trying to sleep.”
Mr Tramby initially suggested the site, under the impression that the Companion Animal Act 1998 mandated council provide a fenced, off-leash dog park. However, he has since learned the act only requires one off-leash site: a requirement that has recently been met.
An off-leash park was opened behind Moree Cemetery, south of Carbeen Street on February 28. The site comprises of plenty of parking for owners and wide, open space for dogs. It is also not fenced.
“One of the conditions of using an off-leash area without a fence is that the owner has full control of their dog. They must have trained their pet to respond when they call them back.”
Cr Tramby added the proposed site at Boston Street would be fenced, which would only add to construction costs.
“Council has received quotes for fenced, off-leash parks at much smaller plots of land, and found it can set us back as much as $70,000.”
He said safety risks came added to the expensive price tag.
“Vets don’t like the idea of a fenced area, because bigger, more aggressive dogs can trap smaller ones in the corner and harm them.”
He added, the hazard also extended outside the site.
“Drivers frequently use Boston Street and Jones Avenue. If a dog escapes from the fenced area and runs across the roads there’s a higher chance of an accident.”
Council agreed to not only review the cost of the proposed off-leash site, but also future use of the land at council meeting on Thursday night.