New dog park to ease oval conflict

FREMANTLE council is planning to make Virginia Ryan Park a new dog exercise area to try and reduce conflict between sports groups and owners on nearby Stevens Reserve. 

The council hopes the park can act as an overflow for Stevens Reserve, where there can be up to 50 dog owners and their pooches having an afternoon romp.

But that’s generated long-term complaints from local sports groups that lease the oval, who say there’s disruptions to sporting matches and training sessions, players running into piles of poop, and the turf getting damaged. 

At its April meeting the Council voted unanimously to advertise the intention to specify the park as a dog exercise area, giving the community 28 days to respond. 

It the proposal then gets the go-ahead, a report to the council said it would cost around $20,000 to implement, with Virginia Ryan needed new fencing and a gate, a drink fountain with a dog water bowl, additional seating and an additional bin with dog bag dispensers.

The report also noted a “comprehensive” look at dog exercise areas will be included in an upcoming review of its sport and recreation plan.

Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said the plan would also see gates removed again at Stevens Reserves, as the cricketers had complained it was dogs running unchecked that created the most problems and it was hoped with an escape route on hand owners might be a bit more attentive.

Stevens Reserve is home of the Fremantle District Cricket Club which has fostered some of Australia’s greatest cricket players, including Mitch and Shaun Marsh, Sam Whiteman, and Jhye Richardson. 

With Isabella Beech, Paige Kiernan and Ben Randall

by BELINDA CHARMAN and SASKIA CUMMING

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