Government expands off-leash dog areas after community feedback

Lachlan Roberts 14 October 2019 29

Denzel and Sesame enjoy going for a swim at Orana Bay in Yarralumla. Photo: Supplied.

The ACT Government has expanded its off-leash and swimming areas for Canberra’s four-legged friends in an effort to provide an off-leash area no more than 800 metres from every dog and its owner’s home.

First flagging the expanded dog areas when the Canberra Dog Model was released earlier this year, Minister for City Services Chris Steel said community feedback showed the community wanted more off-leash areas for their dogs, especially swimming areas.

Off-leash areas have now been added in Gordon, Kambah, Farrer, Narrabundah, Charnwood and Bonner, bringing the off-leash areas to a total of 130-hectares. The Government has also given the city’s seven popular off-lead dog parks $200,000 makeovers, including re-seeding grass and making them more accessible.

“Off-leash areas provide responsible pet owners more opportunities to walk and exercise their dogs,” Mr Steel said. “These changes are an important part of the Canberra Dog Model, which outlines a vision for Canberra to be a leader in effective dog management through improvements in community safety, responsible dog ownership and animal welfare.

“By having clearer rules on where dogs can and can’t be off-leash we know the community will be empowered to make better decisions to manage their dogs safely.”

Owners can also now take their canines for a dip in Lake Tuggeranong, Orana Bay in Yarralumla, Kurrajong Point beach in Weston Park, Gungahlin’s Yerrabi Pond, Lake Ginninderra and at Diddams Close, Belconnen.

Mr Steel said the popular swimming spots were identified as dog attack hot-spots and also in consultation with the community.

“We heard feedback from Canberrans about where they would like to recreate with their animals and we also have the data of where dog attacks were occurring across the ACT, and based on all of that feedback we have determined on and off-lead areas as well as dog swimming areas,” Mr Steel said.

“There were only really two dog swimming areas in the ACT, at Point Hut Crossing and Uriarra Crossing. So the extra swimming areas will provide an opportunity for dogs to swim in our major lakes in a designated place.”

Chris Steel

City Services Minister Chris Steel said the message is clear for all dog owners.

Mr Steel said the announcement also served as a reminder for all dog owners to have effective control of their dog, with on-the-spot fines of $250 and a maximum court-ordered penalty of up to $2,400. He said signs will be erected and the six-member compliance team will start to hand out more fines in the coming months.

“The compliance team have taken an educational approach in the first few months and they will now be stepping up their enforcement with a particular focus on handing out warnings and fines where people are doing the wrong thing,” he said.

“We have seen some really positive engagement from the start. The rules are clear and they will be enforced.”

The changes will be updated on ACTmapi, a publicly available map online, to ensure Canberrans are aware of and can easily access maps of the on and off-leash areas.

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29 Responses to Government expands off-leash dog areas after community feedback
Vicki Cronan Vicki Cronan 5:47 pm 18 Oct 19

If only they’d put bins and doggy poo bags next to them like they do in progressive clean councils elsewhere.

Gillian Buckley Gillian Buckley 12:03 am 18 Oct 19

Please keep all dogs on leash untill you are in a dog leash area fo dogs to run and play in. Thankyou. There are too many dogs being attacked because IRRISPONSIBLE owners allow their dogs to walk off lead. My poor little service dog Jack got attacked by two Staffordshire bull terriers a blue grey and brown. In the Monash area a fortnight ago. Costing me 14 hundred and fifty dollars in vet bills, whilst the owner did a runner without leaving name or telephone no.

Daniel Bahnean Daniel Bahnean 7:27 pm 17 Oct 19

Dora 😎 I'm way ahead of this article 😂😂😂

PeterandBeverley Cornelius PeterandBeverley Cornelius 3:51 pm 17 Oct 19

People don't pick up their dog poo

    Peter Wigley Peter Wigley 8:34 am 18 Oct 19

    so penalise the people who do this, not people who do the right thing. If I said anyone who has grey hair should be on-lead to a male guardian at all times would that make sense to you? Some people with grey hair can't see properly, are prone to walking in front of cars and are absent minded, should all people with grey hair be penalised?

David Lee Chan Keong David Lee Chan Keong 1:56 pm 17 Oct 19

Ok what if you own farm will you still make them follow this rule

Avara Netherton Avara Netherton 7:10 am 16 Oct 19

What a delightful place to raise a Groodle called Rufus Landon 🤔😏

Melissa May Melissa May 11:28 pm 15 Oct 19

Christina Maloney Teeny friendly city

    Christina Maloney Christina Maloney 1:54 pm 16 Oct 19

    Tbh after his adventures thru Arnhem Land Teeny scoffs at dog parks. McPain however v excited.

Peter Wigley Peter Wigley 7:41 pm 15 Oct 19

But why is every primary and infants school oval a dog PROHIBITED area 24 hours a day, and why is Black Mountain peninsula a dog prohibited area 24 hours a day. These and many many more restrictions appear designed to make otherwise law-abiding citizens into easy pickings for over-zealous rangers. If a dog is causing problems, if the dog is leaving dog-poo that the owners are not prepared to deal with, if there is a threat to people's safety: then penalise the owner for that breach of acceptable behaviour, don't make everyone suffer for the mis-deeds of the few. There are many areas that are very suitable for dog off-leash activities that are now on-leash only areas, the new rules are a crazy over-reaction to a problem that isn't there!

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 9:46 pm 15 Oct 19

    School ovals aren't prohibited areas.

    They should be.

    Steve Walmsley Steve Walmsley 7:42 am 16 Oct 19

    Peter Wigley one of the problems, and I see this almost on a daily basis, is people not cleaning up after their dogs. I have a dog. I walk hm all the time. I do clean up after him. Sadly too many irresponsible dog owners make it difficult for most of us.

    Peter Wigley Peter Wigley 10:24 am 16 Oct 19

    Simon Wheaton Have another look at the web site, primary and infant schools are prohibited areas along with many other areas. Rather than ban dogs, why not penalise the owners who don't do the right thing? It is making law-breakers out of otherwise honest people and making people disrespect the laws and law enforcers.

    Peter Wigley Peter Wigley 10:30 am 16 Oct 19

    Steve Walmsley I agree Steve, but to penalise everyone because some people are bad is not the right way to go about fixing the problem. Outright bans and overly restrictive provisions degrade the respect people have for the rules, in fact it encourages people to disrespect and dislike the law and the rangers....and the rangers job is hard enough as it is!

    Greg Wade Greg Wade 11:59 am 17 Oct 19

    Peter Wrigley unfortunately we tried that mate. Too many people were doing the wrong thing and it's resulting in innocent dogs being torn to bits. I myself won't take my dogs to a dog park now because I've had too many bad experiences.

    Peter Wigley Peter Wigley 3:52 pm 17 Oct 19

    Greg Wade I quite understand about the dog parks and the dangers posed by uncontrolled, undisciplined and unsocialised dogs, but that still does not excuse penalising people and dogs that are doing the right thing...

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 4:30 pm 17 Oct 19

    Peter Wigley I just did look at the website, it shows, as an example, Yarralumla Primary School oval as not being prohibited.

    Which primary and infant school ovals are prohibited?

    Dog owners in general can't be trusted to do the right thing. Rangers can't be everywhere, all the time, to enforce these rules. Having school kids, and other oval users, have to play and roll around in dog excrement and urine is not a good thing, IMO.

    Peter Wigley Peter Wigley 8:29 am 18 Oct 19

    Simon Wheaton From the web site: Prohibited: Dogs are not allowed in any area that is marked red and childcare centre, preschool or primary schools are dog prohibited unless dog owners have permission from the Principal. But on a wider note, imagine a law was passed to ban all people who had a tattoo from being out in public because some people with tattoos act in a threatening manor and are suspected of using drugs. Is that fair? Most dogs go un-noticed because they do the right thing, some dogs and their owners stand out and give the rest of the dog and dog-owner population a bad name, don't penalise all of us because of the actions of a few. I break the rules every time I walk my dog across Ainslie School oval or through Glebe Park, I am not inconveniencing anyone but I am potentially up for a significant fine every time......that is not fair, just or sensible.

    Peter Wigley Peter Wigley 8:31 am 18 Oct 19

    Simon Wheaton And looking at the map I can see a very large red splodge in Yarralumla off Loftus street.....WHY?

Samantha Neal Samantha Neal 7:28 pm 15 Oct 19

Assume you have seen this Raelene Sheean

Ann Charisse Ong Ann Charisse Ong 7:25 pm 15 Oct 19

Alyssa Valenton for Tacs!

Caitlin Jacob Caitlin Jacob 7:20 pm 15 Oct 19

Kelly your favourite, yerrabi pond

Samara Goode Samara Goode 4:22 pm 15 Oct 19

Andrew Goode lake G swims

Mel Casao Mel Casao 12:56 pm 15 Oct 19

Mark Casao Typical that Spottie passes away before this comes into action :P

Emma Hannan Emma Hannan 12:35 pm 15 Oct 19

How about tharwa bridge for us southsiders who have kids and dogs and don't want anyone to die from swimming in the filthy lakes.

    Simon Wheaton Simon Wheaton 4:41 pm 17 Oct 19

    You can take them swimming at Point Hut Pond or the western riverbank of Point Hut Crossing recreational area.

Patrick Boucher Patrick Boucher 11:03 am 15 Oct 19

Look at this Roo , Billie and Bree Boucher

Urmila Mitra Urmila Mitra 10:34 am 15 Oct 19


Adeline Gibson Adeline Gibson 10:24 am 15 Oct 19

Fantastic news!

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