29 September 2022

Pawfect! New dog parks on way for the north and south

| Ian Bushnell
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Chris Steel and dog

Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel and Ivy on the Franklin dog park site. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Dog owners in Gungahlin and the Lanyon Valley will have new fenced parks for their pets to play and socialise off lead next year.

The ACT Government has settled on sites in Franklin and in Gordon, and expects construction to start early next year.

But first the community will have the opportunity to comment on the site choices and designs.

The Franklin location is on the corner of Nullarbor Avenue and Oodgeroo Avenue, not far from an established recreation park and the Franklin School.

In the south, a site on the corner of Jim Pike Avenue and Woodcock Drive has been selected from a number of possibilities, mainly for its accessibility.

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Both parks will feature dog agility areas, an accessible looped path, tree plantings, picnic shelters, seating, drinking fountains, grassed areas, a gravel area for a possible coffee cart and parking.

In Franklin, where Transport and City Services Minister Chris Steel announced the dog park consultations, trees will be deciduous varieties, while at Gordon they will be native.

The Franklin park will cover 2870 square metres, while the Gordon facility will be slightly bigger at 3630 square metres.

Mr Steel said the Government had looked at a range of criteria when selecting the sites, particularly how they would fit with the existing communities, ease of use and potential for parking.

He said Canberra already had many off-lead areas but many dog owners wanted to socialise their dogs in a fenced area.

“We have one of the highest ownership rates in the country in the ACT and so as the population grows we’re seeing even more dogs and we know that good opportunities to exercise dogs are important for animal welfare and we want to provide those spaces,” Mr Steel said.

“Providing these two locations will add to the range of other dog parks that we have.”

Mr Steel said the O’Connor and Casey dog parks would also be upgraded as part of the works program so dogs could enjoy improved amenities and meet other dogs.

RSPCA ACT executive manager of marketing, fundraising and communications Rhiannon Kwateng said the organisation was thrilled that the Government was providing more dog parks because the animals benefited greatly from the activity and interaction with other dogs they provide.

“Meeting our dogs’ physical and mental needs is so important, and using a dog park responsibly can fulfill those needs, not only for the dogs to socialise, but also for the owners as well,” she said.

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She said that made for a happier, healthier, calmer dog but when those needs weren’t met dogs could display undesirable behaviours such as excessive barking or being destructive.

Ms Kwatent also said some dogs were not suited to the parks and advised owners to give their pet basic training and supervise them at all times.

“And don’t be afraid to leave if things aren’t going well,” she said.

Mr Steel also announced consultations for playground upgrades at Wakool Circuit, Kaleen and in Lyons, near Devonport Street, ahead of work starting next year.

Improvements will include a shade sail, picnic shelter, bike racks, shade trees and mixed-use courts.

Mr Steel said the Kaleen playground would be centrally located in the suburb and be the biggest of 11 play spaces in the area.

In Lyons, the new facility will replace a standard playground with minimal facilities and be sited closer to the shops.

“We know that play spaces located close to shopping centers are often very successful and well used,” he said.

To view all the designs and comment on the proposals visit the YourSay website.

All consultations close on 9 November.

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