Dog park still to have its day

Efforts to settle on a site for Castlemaine’s long-mooted off-leash dog park are progressing – slowly – with hopes a location will be finalised soon.
Castlemaine ward councillor Dave Petrusma raised the issue at the most recent council meeting and also attended a meeting last week involving a local committee charged with managing a site that’s now being considered.
“There’s an allocation of $60,000 for an off-leash dog park in the current council budget so we’re hopeful there will be some sort of start prior to the end of this financial year,” Cr Petrusma said.
Several previous sites under consideration have fallen through after striking issues rendering them unsuitable.
“We’ve now identified another location and we’re working with one of the local committees,” said Cr Petrusma, who at this stage was still reluctant to divulge the new site being considered.
“We’re still in talks to finalise it,” he said.
“It is in Castlemaine and it is still in negotiation. We’re trying to get a good result for everybody.”
Previous locations considered include one adjoining Castlemaine Botanical Gardens where the discovery of the endangered eltham copper butterfly put paid to that proposal.
Cr Petrusma noted that the council’s newly adopted conservation management plan for the botanical gardens reasserted the need for dogs to be walked on lead at all times while in the gardens.
“We also had a proposed site at Campbells Creek but the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning had some concerns there about possible impacts on plants and possible discharge of dog faeces into the creek,” he said.
Meantime, Cr Petrusma and his newfoundland dog Bogart have been doing their research, checking out established off-leash parks in the wider region.
“There’s some pretty fancy dog parks out there,” Cr Petrusma said.
Bogart’s own preferences include the parks that have water features.
“He likes the one at Strathdale because it’s got several dams, and also the privately owned one at Guildford, which also has a dam,” Cr Petrusma said.
“I think what we will have here in Castlemaine will be quite basic to start with but it will be somewhere for dogs to run off leash and to socialise with other dogs.”
Local dog trainer Colleen Garsed has been calling for an off-leash dog park for Castlemaine since 2004 and said one was badly needed for both local dogs and their owners.
“It will alleviate a lot of things like boredom and barking and I hope it will also be a nice space for people to be,” Ms Garsed said.
She also named several factors as advisable inclusions for any off-leash park – adequate security among them.
“There’s a lot of things that should go into planning – ideally things like double gates and exit and entry gates and adequate signage explaining the dos and don’ts.”

One thought on “Dog park still to have its day

  • December 6, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Thanks Dave, hopefully this new site will be the site we have all been waiting for.


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