THE swinging gate at Stephens Reserve is likely to be removed again when Fremantle council enacts a policy change aimed at shifting some dog walkers to Virginia Ryan Park.
The move, aimed at forcing dog walkers to pay more attention to their pets so they don’t damage the reserve’s cricket pitch, was trialled in March last year, but dropped after howls of complaint (“No gate a sad tail for Arlo,” Herald, March 27, 2021).
With the council voting to advertise its plan to make Virginia Ryan a dog exercise area at its April meeting, the gate is again mooted for removal, infuriating many of Stephens’ regulars.
Kersten Norlin spoke during public question time at the council’s May meeting, saying the open gate “will effectively kill off-leash walking”.
Ms Norlin said she believed dogs did less damage to the pitch than some of their two-legged companions.
“You will have seen from the photo … that some people recently set fire to a packing crate, creating significant damage on the oval,” she said.
“This was on the back of a recent weekend when some people pulled down the fences and invaded the pitch twice in one weekend.”
Ms Norlin colourfully mocked the Fremantle Cricket Club’s attempts to keep the pitch safe by roping it off.
“A single piece of string represents a Shakespearean act to prevent dogs going on the pitch.
“Rather than wasting money on new external fencing, we should invest in a more robust temporary solution for the pitch during the playing season.”
Ms Norlin said dog walkers had occasionally been subjected to “appalling abusive behaviour” by cricketers who needed to learn how to share.
…and swinging doors
A CYCLING lane installed by Fremantle council just four months ago has been ripped up after riders complained it was too dangerous.
The unorthodox $47,000 cycling lane was installed between parked cars and the footpath along Ord Street, with a concrete barrier to prevent drivers sneaking too far over.
But cyclists complained it was too narrow and dangerous, as passengers unused to cycle lanes on their side were likely to open their door onto an unsuspecting rider.
The works got the Chook’s phones humming, with Geoff calling up to let us know it was “crazy” and wasting ratepayers’ money when the council should be belt-tightening. Julie wanted to know whether anybody checked whether the lane would work before installing it.
A spokesperson from the council said the “cycle lane as originally designed was compliant and approved by Main Roads WA, however it is accepted that the available road width meant the cycle lane width was at a minimum standard”.
The spokesperson said it cost another $15,000 to remove the lane.
It’s not the first time the council’s spent money on bike lane treatments only to shelve them shortly after.
Back in 2018 the council installed raised “armadillos” along the Parry Street bike lane near Fremantle Oval, but they were replaced with something a little less prominent after drivers complained they were too disruptive. Eventually even the lower humps were replaced with paint.