I received a comment this morning from the gentleman who is heading the Companion Animal Review. I thought it might be a good idea to share it here, in a new post, rather than to leave it buried as comment #41.
Hi everyone my name is Aaron Callaghan. I am the Senior Parks and Open Space Planner at Leichhardt Council who also happens to live locally and also has a two and half year old dog who loves to run free in the off leash parks. Milton and I go for long walks twice a day (starting at 6am before work). Its part of our routine and it’s a great way for us to socialise (with humans and other dogs) and its also our form of recreation, exercise and fun in the outdoors.
I am also responsible for heading the companion animal review which this blog seems to be very misinformed about. The last time (and the first time) this review was done was when the original “on and off leash areas” were established within the Leichhardt area. This was back in 2005 and it is timiely that such a review is undertaken as community needs have changed as have some of the parks in terms of development and use. Council has no plans to reduce any off leash areas. The review is aimed at assessing current provision, restrictions and signage as well as recommending to Council where possible changes to make on and off leash areas clearer to the public who use such spaces. This would benefit both dog and non dog owners.
Parks and opens spaces are there to share for all and Council recognises the benefits of companion animal ownership and the role that local parks and opens spaces provide for companion animal recreation, socialisation and interaction with humans. However there must also be balance between different park uses and the provision of spaces for other activities which do not necessarily include dogs ie children’s playgrounds and sporting activities. I would encourage anyone in the Leichhardt or Sydney area who wants clarity on this issue to phone me on 93679270 during normal business hours.
Here is my response:
Dear Aaron Callaghan,
THANK YOU for writing to let us know the situation! I have been at your Council website and saw the 2005 Plan and realised that was probably why it was up for review.
I could not however find any other updates or information on the progress of the current review and would be grateful if you would post a link here for us.
As you might know, being a local and a dogowner yourself, there are many of us who are concerned. Any news that I have personally heard regarding changes seem to imply that off-leash times and zones will be reduced so it's good news that you're saying this will not be so. There's nothing so awful as lack of or mis-information and I'm very happy to be corrected!
Once again, thank you for taking the time to write us.
Regards, The Typist x
[If you haven't already, you can read that post and all comments HERE.]
This pic is from HERE and is dedicated to Fab :)
It would appear I've been premature in panicking and that our off-leash rulings are in the good hands of a local and a dogowner.
Since Mr Callaghan has already read the post and possibly your comments [gulp], I suppose there's no longer any point in sending it onto him.
I'm very pleased that we got a response and some clarity on the situation!
This, I suspect, will be the first and last time I venture into becoming A DogBlog With A Cause! I have no idea how some of you do it. Normal programming with stories about Georgia's chuckups and tantrums should return shortly, after my feathers have unruffled and I have ingested some Panadeine Forte.
Till then, thank you again for your support and all your thoughts on off-leash dog parks, wherever in the world you are. I know now, from your comments, that we here in the peninsula are luckier than some and not as lucky as others.
And that, of course, is how life is.
With love and respect always, The Typist x
Some interesting links.
+ If you'd like to know what the City of Sydney stand on off-leash dog areas are, CLICK HERE.
Excerpt from this 2008 article:
"Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore says additional off-leash areas are important for people living with pets in the inner city. Ms Moore said it was all about educating the general community about the benefit of pets in people’s lives and educating pet owners about responsible pet ownership. “This is about equity, it’s about not treating dog owners as second-class citizens."
+ If you'd like to know where the off-leash areas in the City of Sydney are, CLICK HERE.
+ If you'd like to know more about Leichhardt Council's current Open Space Strategy for Dogs, CLICK HERE. [This is the 2005 document.]
Mr Callaghan has kindly emailed me the link to the latest news on The Companion Animal Access Review 2012. HERE IT IS! It includes a pdf that explains the Review process.
If you're bubbling with concerns and ideas, and haven't yet submitted your thoughts on the matter -
The closing date in the wards of Leichhardt and Birchgrove is now Wednesday 30 May 2012 at 4pm.
Loving this dialogue :) Have a great weekend everyone! x
I received an interesting and, may I say, rare comment from a local resident and dogowner on Friday night. I should have done something about it yesterday but have been crook. [Yes, please feel sorry for me.]
I think it's worthwhile highlighting as I know many people [oddly] do not read comments as avidly as I do. For those of you who do not live in this area or country, [and for Mr C if he should pop by again], it gives you an idea of the confusion on the ground.
Thanks for posting all of this info over the past weeks. I think it was still really wonderful & valuable that you encouraged Balmain/Birchgrove residents to write in to council because as it states in the pdf link that Mr Callaghan sent you "Council will consult key stakeholders - such as pet owners and park users", however there was never a guideline as to how as pet owners and park uses could be heard as part of the consultation process.
Local area precinct meetings tend to be a first port of call for council to "consult" with local residents and unfortunately Birchgrove precinct's own chairman is against any changes for either more off leash space (like at Ballast Point Park where there is none at all) and would love to have existing off leash space reduced. The small group of vocal residents that attend these meetings (around 8 people), share this view are so vocal and it seems, they are always contacting council with this view giving the impression that they 'speak' for the majority of residents on the peninsula.
The issue that a lot of us local 'balmain dog lovers' had was that some LMC staff such as the grounds keeper at Birchgrove Park/oval and other park staff members had started to tell those of us with dogs off leash (in off leash park zones) that "we had better enjoy it now as there were going to be changes to the amount of space and timings our dogs could play off leash", I was told this very thing not even a week ago.
Anyway, well done with bringing all this info forward and public, you & your fantastic blog defiantly add value to our community.
I have a feeling it won't be over till the fat dog howls.
"Typist, is it safe to come out yet?"