Esplanade unleashed

ALLOWING dogs to run free on the Esplanade reserve moved a step closer this week with a Fremantle council committee supporting the notion.

Under the plan, dog owners will be able to slip the leash off between 5am and 8am.

Initially, dog owners wanted to use the reserve midnight to 9am but that was scaled back by the council’s strategic and general services committee when it first considered the proposal in May.

The council received 64 submissions, 25 for and 39 against. A petition of support with 19 signatures was also received during the public consultation period from the Friends of Stevens Street Reserve.

Carriage cafe owner Kel Smith says the proposed leash-free hours clash with his business: “Uncontrolled/unleashed dogs would be allowed to run in and around the cafe and even into the carriage and the kitchen area.”

John Terry labels the idea preposterous: “This park is a great asset to your city and should be protected and not ruined by roaming dogs.”

Richard Wiggins calls on the council to, “please keep the park for the people, not the dogs”, while many other objectors predict dog owners won’t clean up their dog’s poo, making the park a minefield for families.

Stephen Baker went as far as vowing to vote out councillors who, “give everything away to the hippy brigade” and supporting elected members with “balls”.

“What kind of fu@#wit came up with this,” Mark Addison contributes, “and who are the di*%head councillors that supported it, they need a rocket up there [sic] arse the bloody morons.”

On the flipside, veteran local real estate agent Mark Brophy is all for it: “It’s needed,” was all he wanted to say.

Lisa Solosy says it will make it easier to exercise her pet in the morning: “Currently we need to go to South Beach which takes a little too long before work.”

“Dog owners and lovers are far cleaner than the louts and unruly kids that frequent Freo,” Marian Johnson comments.

Elisabeth Haynes wants to see Bathers Beach roped in as well.

Council states the level of activity is generally low for the proposed time, with early morning workers including commuters and residents taking their pets for a stroll.

Ranger services start 7am.

“There may be some early activity on the playground which would be the greatest area of concern as uncontrolled dogs may make contact with young children in the play area,” it says, adding it may consider fencing the playground later on.

There are 19 dog exercise areas in Freo including South Beach, Wilson Park, Parmelia Park and Fremantle Park. There are 8363 registered dogs in the city.


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