Fence Oval 2 at Willoughby Park for Dogs

Fence Oval 2 at Willoughby Park for Dogs

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Jessica Whitbourn started this petition to Willoughby City Council and

Willoughby Park is incredibly popular for a range of activities, including sports club training and matches, personal training groups, an after school care and preschool, dance groups, kids at play and family and friends catching up to picnic or kick a footy. Currently, these users share Oval 1 (top oval) and Oval 2 (Alan Hyslop Oval, bottom oval) with families who come to exercise and socialise their dogs off-leash - on Oval 2 at all times, unless its being used for organised sport, and on Oval 1 between 6am and 10am, unless it's being used for sport. 

Dog owners and users of Willoughby Park would like a fence to be installed around Oval 2.

Firstly, fenced off-leash area will protect park users who do not wish to be near dogs, so they can enjoy the park in confidence that they won't be accidently bowled over by an enthusiastic dog. This appears to happen frequently, according to accounts by people on Facebook page Willoughby Living, by word of mouth, and from my own observations at the park. This was the main motivation for starting this petition. If there is a fenced and designated space for dogs to run and play freely, then the risk of people being knocked over and injured while using the park (or licked whilst doing their personal training or yoga!) will be significantly reduced.

A fenced area will also enable dog owners to exercise their dogs without the fear and danger of them running onto the surrounding roads, or down to Willoughby Bowling Club, when filled with the joy of chasies with their doggy pals. The probability of a dog being struck by a car, on Warrane Road in particular, is quite high. Dog owners dread it, and it would be an awful thing to happen if you were the driver. A simple fence would solve this problem immediately, ensuring dog owners could safely exercise their dogs.

As the Willoughby City Council website says, 'Dogs need exercise, but you also have a duty to others not to cause a nuisance'. We believe that a fence around Oval 2 will greatly reduce the likelihood of dogs being a nuisance to other park users by giving the dogs somewhere contained and safe to play.

This is especially relevant now, as the population of furry canine friends continues to increase rapidly in Willoughby and surrounds - and across Australia - driven by a range of  factors related to Covid-19. Many of these are puppies who are being trained and learning boundaries; a fenced off-leash area will help support this training by separating these puppies and dogs from other park users as they learn.

A fence around Oval 2 will also allow people who don't like dogs to enjoy the park in confidence. Willoughby Park is such a fabulous place for a range of people of all ages and having a designated dog exercise place may encourage people who feel more vulnerable to get out, exercise, socialise and enjoy some fresh air without the worry of being approached or bumped into by a dog.

Willoughby City Council has 12 off-leash areas. Only two of these are fully fenced and neither of them is for exclusive dog exercise use. Beauchamp Park, Chatswood, shares the space with community sport clubs, personal trainers and people there to kick or throw a ball around. Lowanna Park, in Chatswood West, is fully fenced, but dogs are not allowed to use the park between 11am and 3pm each day. These locations also serve different neighbourhoods, and are not immediately accessible for people in Willoughby, Castlecrag, Middle Cove and Northbridge. In addition, dedicated fully fenced, off-leash dog-only parks are becoming more common in neighbouring council areas, such as at Roseville Park in the Ku-ring-gai Council area and Blackman Park in the Lane Cove Council area.

We are not requesting an exclusive dog park at Willoughby Park - rather, a perimeter fence around the off-leash space that already exists, to enhance the safety and enjoyment for people and dogs.

A fence around Oval 2, perhaps within the pathway that already exists, would bring great benefit to a range of people living in the Willoughby City Council area and nearby.

Please SIGN THIS PETITION and show Willoughby City Council that you believe a fence around Oval 2 would be of benefit to all park users, by keeping people safe from enthusiastic dogs at play, and giving dogs a safe place to learn and play while off leash.

Many thanks,

Jess and Polly the Dog.

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