Monash dog owners will soon have more space to run their pets off-leash, with 14 new sites across the municipality to become leash-free from 1 July.
The Monash Dog Off-Leash Policy, which was endorsed by City of Monash Council in November last year, will see the total number of off-leash areas increase from 31 to 45. Four existing sites will also have expanded leash-free space.
Council says the policy was formed after extensive consultation with the community over several months, including hundreds of pieces of feedback received via Council’s Shape Monash online consultation hub, formal submissions, and petitions.
Mayor, Tina Samardzija said it was fantastic to deliver more spaces for dogs to run off-leash.
“We know from community feedback that there is strong support for increasing the number of off-leash areas in the City of Monash, and it is great that Council has been able to provide 14 new sites for dogs and their owners to explore,” she said.
Council has made no changes to off-leash areas at Jack Edwards Reserve. Four areas will also have their off-leash areas reduced, including at Damper Creek Conservation Reserve.
Melbourne-based company, Practical Ecology, was commissioned by Council to assess the impacts that domestic animals and invasive pest animals have on the native flora and fauna throughout Monash’s bushland reserves with particular focus on Damper Creek Conservation Reserve. The report recommended the reserve be designated as on-leash for dogs to protect the significant conservation corridor.
Mayor Samardzija said Council was careful and thorough in considering all views, feedback and advice before deciding on the retention of two pockets for off-leash activity. There is also an existing dog off-leash area nearby at Federal Reserve (approximately 300m from Damper Creek) and a new off-leash area to be provided at Bowman Street Reserve, also nearby (approximately 400m).
“While we know this decision won’t please everyone, we believe it provides the correct balance between the protection of Council’s limited and valuable conservation reserves and the needs of dog owners,” the Mayor said.
She said Council intends to take an educative approach during the initial stages of implementation and, following that period, a person may be issued with a fine.