DOGS HAVE THEIR DAY

Coun­cil’s plan for 18 new off-leash ar­eas across the re­gion

The Cairns Post - - FRONT PAGE - editorial@cairn­spost.com.au facebook.com/TheCairn­sPost www.cairn­spost.com.au twit­ter.com/TheCairn­sPost CHRIS CAL­CINO chris.cal­cino@news.com.au

PLANS for new ar­eas where dogs can run free have been drawn up by Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil. Seven of the 18 new zones are deemed ur­gent at the North­ern Beaches, the South­ern Cor­ri­dor and west of the CBD.

THE sub­urbs are about to get more dog parks than they can throw a stick at.

Pet own­ers hound­ing Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil for more places to let their pooches run un­teth­ered could be in for a spe­cial treat this morn­ing.

The coun­cil’s sport and com­mu­nity ser­vices com­mit­tee will vote on a pro­posal to cre­ate 18 off-leash ar­eas from Gor­don­vale to Palm Cove in a staged process to kick off straight away.

A re­port iden­ti­fies seven parks (right) as “high pri­or­ity” with the works to be im­ple­mented by the end of the 2020-21 fi­nan­cial year at an ex­pected $470,000 cost to ratepay­ers.

By far the most ex­pen­sive project would be Bar­ron Wa­ters Park at Car­avon­ica, which has been a bone of con­tention for res­i­dents over the past year.

The fenced off-leash area would be cre­ated as part of a wider $250,000 park re­de­vel­op­ment in­clud­ing a new 70space carpark, BMX track, bar­be­cue and pic­nic ar­eas, bub­blers, shel­ters, seat­ing and ta­bles, multi-sport goal­posts, toi­let block and play ar­eas.

Car­avon­ica res­i­dent Karen Davies launched a pe­ti­tion last year to re­lo­cate the park’s of­fleash area out of a swampy cor­ner or to agree to op­er­ate it on a time­share agree­ment.

The en­tire park has long been used as a play space for un­fet­tered pups and the coun­cil faced a com­mu­nity back­lash when it sent se­cu­rity of­fi­cers to en­force by-laws last year.

Ms Davies thought the to­tal park re­de­vel­op­ment was overkill and might at­tract itin­er­ants and campers.

Still, she ap­pre­ci­ated the change in the coun­cil’s phi­los­o­phy – or dogma, if you will.

“All the peo­ple we’ve spo­ken to seem happy that we’re not just rel­e­gated to that swampy sec­tion near Im­pey St,” she said. “It’s a good com­pro­mise. “And quite frankly, we need to get some­thing for our dog reg­is­tra­tion fees.”

Four of the seven high-pri­or­ity off-leash ar­eas would be fenced un­der the plan.

The re­port iden­ti­fied seven medium-pri­or­ity parks to get off-leash ar­eas within three to five years and an­other four long-term projects to hap­pen within seven years to a decade.

If ap­proved, the pro­pos­als will likely be put out to pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion to fine­tune the de­signs.

The coun­cil al­ready has 45 off-leash ar­eas in­clud­ing 12 on the North­ern Beaches.

Pic­ture: STE­WART McLEAN

PARK LIFE: An­nee Nguyen and her dog Piper from Red­lynch en­joy­ing some off-leash play at Goom­boora Park.

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