30 July 2018

Long-awaited Weston Creek Dog Park open for paws play

| Ian Bushnell
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First in: This pooch had a ball at the new Weston Creek Dog Park. Photos: George Tsotsos.

It’s a pawfect day for pooches in the Weston Creek, Molonglo and Woden areas with their owners now able to treat them to a run in the new off-leash dog park in Duffy.

MLA for Murrumbidgee, Bec Cody, representing Minister for Transport and City Services Meegan Fitzharris, announced on Friday (27 July) that Canberra’s seventh fenced off-leash dog park was now complete, and reminded Canberrans of the importance of responsible pet ownership.

“The location of Warragamba Avenue in Duffy was chosen by the community during consultation undertaken in 2016. Dog owners can run around with their furry friends or take a seat surrounded by panoramic views to Canberra’s urban hills and mountains. Just remember to keep a watchful eye on your dog at all times,” she said.

Key features of the new Weston Creek Dog Park include two dog enclosures; one large and one small, two water fountains with dog bowls, four bench seats, two bins, substantial tree planting and mulched garden beds and a car park with 21 line marked spaces, including parking for people with a disability.

Ms Cody said every dog needed to be registered, de-sexed (unless a permit has been issued) and fully vaccinated.

“There is a large and ever-growing dog community in Canberra and it is important that everyone understands their role in keeping both the broader community and our pets safe by practising responsible pet ownership,” she said.

“We want people and their pets to enjoy their experience each time they visit one of our dog parks.”

MLA Bec Cody speaking at the opening of the dog park.

Dog owners should be aware of dog park ‘etiquette’ which includes:

  • Where there are small and large dog enclosures, make sure you use the appropriate enclosure;
  • Don’t come into the enclosure if it is already crowded, and leave immediately if you feel concerned about anything happening in the enclosure, or your dog’s behaviour;
  • Rather than staying in one place, keep moving around to reduce territorial behaviours;
  • Stay alert and focused on your dog at all times;
  • Bring plenty of bags and clean up after your dog, and clean up after others if you come across them.

Ms Cody said dog owners going to the Duffy park needed to be aware of the adjacent Bicentennial Trail, a well-used horse trail that runs parallel to Warragamba Avenue.

“There is a special crossing at the entrance to the dog park and we remind all dog owners to ensure they keep their dogs on the leash at all times outside the fenced areas, and watch out for our horsey friends,” Ms Cody said.

The park was originally slated for opening at the end of May but the project did not get underway until June after design changes necessitated further negotiations between the Government and the preferred contractor.

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We went there over the weekend and it is very nice to have such a facility.

However, I’m not sure I’d say it is complete. Two things we noticed:

While there are two areas, and we presume the bigger area is for large dogs and the smaller are is for little dogs, this is just an assumption. It would be really nice to have signs specifying that (I seem to recall that other Dog parks do have signs but I could be mistaken).

The two water fountains are not working. I don’t know if they were working and now are not, or if they have never worked.

So a great idea in a good location, but the execution seems to have been rather second rate.

Yep agree that there should be signs clarifying which enclosure is best suited to your dog. Also: “we remind all dog owners to ensure they keep their dogs on the leash at all times outside the fenced areas” – this should also be visible somewhere near the entrance to ALL ACT dog parks – I’ve seen several dog-fights in the last few months caused by off-leash dogs ‘rushing’ leashed dogs. Even a normally relaxed pooch can turn ‘defensive’ if approached on leash. Not to mention the danger of a reversing car running over an unseen, uncontrolled, off-leash dog in the carpark. If we all leash our dogs until inside the park the danger is avoided – problem solved!

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