Bondi View

Bronte trial: let the dogs out

Dogs will be given more space in Bronte Park. Photo: BuzzFarmers via Flickr

Waverley Council has capitulated on its dog-walking trial in Bronte Park and will expand accessible areas following a backlash from residents.

The changes will see on-leash areas widen to include the eastern end of the park between the shelters and the beach, together with an increase to the off-leash area, allowing dogs now to be taken to the lower section of the Bronte Creek waterway.

In October, off-leash arrangements were proposed for both Bronte Park and Raleigh Reserve in Dover Heights, with a 12-month trial commencing in December.

Waverley Mayor Sally Betts said the expansion of the zones was a response to community feedback which characterised the original boundaries set by the trial as “impractical”. Cr Betts said the changes will allow for the unification of separate boundaries with a view to protecting local biodiversity and the vegetation areas in the gully.

“With over 9000 dogs registered in Waverley, we need to strike the right balance between the dog owners and the enjoyment of our limited public spaces by everyone else,” she said.

Councillor Andrew Cusack agreed, saying Waverley Council was “relaxing and tweaking the trial” in order to find a good balance in the usage of the park.

“We received a lot of feedback from dog owners saying it was unreasonable that dog owners were being fined for having dogs on the leash on grass areas,” he said.

“Every good council communicates, talks, listens, adjusts, modifies, and that’s what we’ve done.”

Although 34 fines have been issued during the trial period, a Waverley Council spokesperson confirmed none have been issued since March 1, when the changes to the trial were first introduced.

Mr Cusack said although the majority of Bronte Park now allows dogs on-lead, there are zones where dogs remain prohibited in accordance with state legislature, such as the baths and kiosk.

The NSW Companion Animals Act 1998 prohibits an animal from being within ten metres of a food preparation area and children’s playground equipment to prevent incidences of harm.

But Bondi resident and personal trainer Eric Avetisian believes more needs to be done to enforce penalties at Bronte Park to ensure dogs remain within their designated zones.

“I come here quite frequently for my fitness sessions,” he said.

“The dogs are often barking, causing a fair bit of commotion and getting in our way with the groups. The owners sometimes just don’t do anything about it.”

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