Dogs out of the sticks

THE days of care-free dogs bounding through bushland in Sir Frederick Samson Park are coming to an end.

From December, under new council regulations, dogs must be leashed when they are in the bushland area of the park.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt says the rule change is a good compromise that protects the last remnants of jarrah, marri and tuart woodland in the city.

“Samson Park is a Bush Forever site that’s protected under state government planning policies,” he said.

“A proposal to completely ban dogs from the bush was rejected by the council earlier this year because we felt it was too restrictive for people who enjoy walking through the bush with their dogs.

“We feel a change that still allows dogs to be off-leash in the central grassed area of the park but on-leash in the bush is a good compromise that maintains the social, health and community benefits for dog walkers while also limiting the disturbance of the bush.”

City officers had noted a decline in soil condition and native plant numbers, and widening of the trails in the bush area.

“The presence of dogs in the bush can also have an impact on native fauna, with the most vulnerable being ground-nesting birds and those that nest and or feed low to the ground.”

To further protect the bush, council will formalise the trails, install new fencing and signage, and continue a vegetation survey.

Earlier this year Samson Park was nominated by the federal government to be listed as a threatened ecological community.

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