Make Figtree Bay Reserve off-leash!

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Figtree Bay Reserve in Chiswick has long been a favourite haunt for residents with a variety of interests - it's a fabulous spot for picnics, for kicking a ball with the kids, for fishing, and for many of us, it's also been a place for our dogs to come together and play.

COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works for so many of us. The area immediately surrounding Figtree Bay Reserve includes two strata schemes with over 500 lots each, and we've all harmoniously enjoyed the mixed use nature of the plentiful parklands we have along the waterfront between Chiswick and Abbotsford. We are also two of the few truly pet-friendly complexes in Sydney, and the COVID puppy phenomenon hit here even harder than elsewhere (good thing we like dogs)! Our community has welcomed so many more pooches, and with the lockdown, social distancing, and working from home, our little community found solace in our daily socially-distanced park visits and the social aspect they've brought us and our dogs. If there was a silver lining to the pandemic, it's that we have solidified our bonds as neighbours and friends. Figtree Bay Reserve now sees a steady stream of playful pooches in the mornings and evenings. It's been delightful to see how we've all come together to make new friends, socialise our dogs, and support each other (think swapping tips on toilet training, helping out with basic obedience, and of course equitable distribution of treats).

We've been dismayed by a persistent and pernicious campaign against this joy by a select few local residents, who have chosen to disparage and discourage dog owners using the park. This has extended to unlawfully filming dog owners using the park, erecting homemade signs on council land threatening us and our dogs, and wilful and nasty verbal abuse. Their persistence has led Canada Bay Council to erect a sign at the entrance to the park garishly reminding residents of the plethora of fun activities banned in Figtree Bay Reserve, including off-leash dogs.

We aren't silly - we know it wasn't a designated off-leash area. However, we believe that local amenities should reflect the usage of the community that lives there, and the reality is that the usage of the park has changed significantly in the past 18 months. Dozens of delightful dogs and their owners enjoy this space every day. It has a unique advantage over Lysaght Park in that it is not only directly adjacent to one of Sydney's largest pet friendly complexes, it is not bordered by three busy roads that would threaten the safety of our four legged friends. It also doesn't feature weekend sports or evening sports practices that would cause usage conflicts and time restrictions.

We're a respectful bunch - we believe in cleaning up after our dogs, in ensuring they don't damage the landscape or plants, and in keeping dogs under effective control at all times. We welcome nervous dogs and dogs with rehabilitation needs - they stay on-leash, but they get to make friends and get fresh air and socialisation. We are pretty self-regulating because we all have to live next door to each other - makes it a bit hard to be moron if you have to see each other all the time! We don't see how Figtree Bay Reserve being an off-leash space would compromise the area or impact anyone in the vicinity.

We would like Council to re-zone Figtree Bay Reserve to make it off-leash for dogs to enjoy safely. Please sign our petition to say you support this request!

We encourage Council to come and meet with us and our dogs, and see the kind of harmonious, respectful and inclusive community we have here. We do not believe that the grumblings of a loud few should win over what's best for the local community and the people that live in it.

Any questions about the park, our group or our petition can be directed to us via dogs4figtreebayreserve@gmail.com. 

Thank you for your support!

Figtree Bay Reserve Residents Action Group