Permanent Dog Off-Leash Areas for Baw Baw Shire

Published on 16 May 2018

Puppy running through field of flowers

Baw Baw Shire’s canine community will be able to run free with the introduction of seven permanent dog off-leash areas across the municipality.

The decision, made at Council’s 9 May meeting, will see permanent dog off-leash areas introduced at:

  • Darnum Recreation Reserve, Darnum
  • Bellbird Park, Drouin
  • Dunstan Oval, Rawson
  • St Phillack Reserve, Rawson
  • Linear Reserve, Trafalgar
  • Brooker Park, Warragul
  • Dowton Park, Yarragon

Council will work towards turning three of these areas, one in each ward, into premium dog parks that are fully fenced with extra amenities such as dog litter bins and bags, extra signage, agility equipment and a drinking fountain suitable for dogs. These include Brooker Park in Warragul, Bellbird Park in Drouin and Linear Reserve in Trafalgar.

Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Cr Joe Gauci said this was a big win for the four-legged, furry residents of Baw Baw Shire and their owners.

“With over 7,400 dogs registered in Baw Baw Shire, these off-leash areas will provide designated places for dogs and their owners to socialise, interact and exercise in a safe and secure environment”, said the Mayor.  

“This decision reflects community calls for more off-leash areas around the Shire. During the ‘Have Your Say’ community consultation in 2016, we received 124 submissions with a 69% majority in favour of more permanent dog off-leash areas.

“We want to support dog owners to exercise their pets responsibly, whilst protecting the safety and enjoyment of other park users.”

Deputy Mayor Cr Danny Goss also spoke in support of the proposal saying, “I’m very pleased to support this initiative. We’ve had a lot of community feedback and know this is something our community wants more of.”

Cr Goss also warned that these parks are not just a place to let your dogs go and not be vigilant. Owners should take care at all times and watch their dogs carefully. Their experience will be more enjoyable that way.

The decision follows extensive community consultation held in 2015-2016, where three other parks (Kydd Parke Reserve in Jindivick, Alex Goudie Park in Drouin and James Balfour Oak Tree Park in Trafalgar) were originally also considered, however, ultimately determined to be inappropriate for this use.

With community interest in mind, an alternate recommendation was moved by Cr Darren Wallace and seconded by Cr Mikaela Power to seek further targeted community consultation on the design and location of areas that were not originally trialled. These include Brooker Park in Warragul, Dowton Park in Yarragon and Linear Reserve in Trafalgar.

Cr Wallace said, “We want to get the best possible result for our community, this means providing an opportunity for residents to have input on each of the proposed dog off-leash areas.”

Cr Mikaela Power said, “It’s been a lengthy process to get to this point, with some changes along the way. There’s still some work to do to ensure we get these areas right. Talking to community members who use these spaces will help us achieve a better result.”

More information about these targeted community consultation opportunities will be made available in due course.

Project funding for associated works, such as fencing, dog litter bins and agility equipment, will be considered as part of the 2018/19 Budget process. Following this, further clarity will be available on the overall scope and timing of works.