Updated: Jun 20, 2019
By Michelle Sturrock
Bayside Dog Alliance (BDA) is the Association for dog owners and carers in the City of Bayside, Victoria.
We are passionate about our pooches and about working with Bayside City Council (BCC) to ensure that dog owners in the municipality have fair access to walk, play and run our dogs safely in the City of Bayside.
BDA seeks to be the peak body in relation to dogs and dog ownership in the Bayside area - to discuss current issues, form strategies and to represent local dog owners in relation to development and implementation of relevant policy by BCC.
BDA was first set up in February 2017 in response to BCC’s decision to remove gates at the off-leash area at Donald Macdonald Reserve in Beaumaris. After initial enquiries to Council it was discovered that Donald Macdonald reserve was just one of several off-leash dog areas on sporting grounds in the Bayside Council earmarked for gate removal. Gates had already been removed at Hurlingham Park, East Brighton last year.
Further, Council’s reply to our enquiries was that the decision to remove gates was an ‘administrative decision’ and therefore did not need a community consultation process. We disagree strongly with this view, as these parks and reserves are community recreation areas. These areas are used by several different activities including sport, conservation, playground and skate park. The whole community deserves to have a say on how these spaces are set up and utilised. We strongly support inclusive discussions on these matters.
Council’s reasoning for removing gates is to make dog owners more vigilant to pick up dog poo, and keep the dogs from damaging the oval surface. There has been no clear evidence from Council to back up their claims on these issues. Our own observations have found that removing the gates and leaving gaps in the fences risks the safety of dogs and their owners. Even a well trained dog can occasionally lose concentration and run off if frightened. Running onto a road can cause injury (or worse!) to both the dog and the owner.
As a result of the gates being removed, less and less dog owners are bringing their dogs to the off leash parks that were once secure, affecting the social and physical wellbeing of many residents in the area.
Once we formed Bayside Dog Alliance, we initiated a petition to Council to halt the gate removal. It quickly gained momentum. This petition is ongoing and we now have over 1,200 signatures asking Council to stop removing gates from our off-leash dog parks, and reinstate those that have been removed. We want safe and secure areas for our dogs.
If you are keen for your voice to be heard, join us on our Facebook page at Bayside Dog Alliance and check for updates. There is also an official Bayside Dog Alliance webpage: www.baysidedogalliance.net