Designation of Davies Park, West End, as a dog off-leash area

Principal Petitioner Tet Hin Chong, West End
Date Closed Thu, 23 May 2019 This epetition has ended
No. of signatures 85 signatures

(View signatures)

Davies Park is the beating heart of Montague Road, where crowds swell to hundreds, possibly thousands, on Saturday mornings to visit the biggest farmers’ market in Brisbane. On all other times, the park embodies the West End culture of diversity and tolerance as it is mutually and respectfully enjoyed by its residents. Specifically within the past 12 months, this large green field has been bringing together a community of dog owners and their well socialised and domesticated dogs to enjoy the existing space, and have been doing so responsibly with no incidents relating to damage, injury or nuisance. According to: - the 2016 census, the West End suburb hosts 4,817 private dwellings; and - a survey conducted by the Animal Medicines Australia in 2016, it was found that the household penetration of dogs stood at 38.5% with an average of 1.3 dogs per household. A quick arithmetic based on the figures above yielded a number of approximately 2,411 dogs of all breeds and sizes in West End alone. As you are well aware, there has been a steady and continuous development within this riverside suburb since 2016, and will only continue as demand for a piece of this multi-cultural estate grows. The current dog population’s off-leash needs in West End are catered by only 2 fenced parks, both of which, are too small and not nearly large enough for the growing population.

Your petitioners therefore humbly petition for: - Davies Park to be recognised as a shared space i.e. where dogs are allowed off leash at all times; or - Davies Park to be designated an off-leash area for specific times i.e. 6-8am and 4-7pm (Option 2); or - a new larger fenced off-leash park to be created or developed. To narrow the scope, your petitioners humbly suggest and put forward Option 2 as the most desired outcome for this petition. Option 2 benefits and caters to all parties, creating a win-win situation for all due to the following reasons: - designated times would ensure the enjoyment and maximize the utilisation of the Park of all residents, whether dog owners or otherwise; - the Park is currently more than able to fulfil the recreational needs of West End residents along Montague Road, even during designated off-leash times; - the Park is large enough for larger breed dogs to run around the park for a game of ball, while smaller to medium sized ones are happy to wrestle in the grass in their own corner; - children and families have never had issues sharing the space with dog owners for their own game of frisbee or soccer; - bins for waste disposal and a water source are already located at the fringe of the park which further supports the suitability of Davies Park as an off-leash dog park; - there will be little or no change in costs involved in doing so in the short-term, while Council identify a more suitable area for the development of a new off-leash park; - similar arrangement is already currently on trial in Newstead at the Waterfront Park; - while there are larger parks in surrounding suburbs, this would require owners to drive to the destination, further straining the already struggling infrastructure, especially during peak hours. This would also mean contributing to their dog population, and only spreading the problems of West End to the other suburbs; and - the current lease holder of the Park, Souths League Club, is aware of the use of the Park as an off-leash dog area and has not raised objections. All that this petition is after is genuine consideration to the needs of residents of West End whose families consist of at least one furry friend.

Council response

Council has completed investigations and considered your request. It was decided that the petitioners be advised of the following information.

Davies Park, West End, is zoned as Sport and recreation (District) in Brisbane City Plan 2014. The Southern Suburbs Rugby League Football Club hold legal tenure in the form of a lease over both the main field, adjoining clubhouse and facilities buildings, and the second (soccer) field within Davies Park. There are also several other leased areas associated with the various rowing facilities along the waterfront section of the park.

As you may be aware, Council is currently delivering the Davies Park improvement project. Extensive community consultation was undertaken in 2017 and August 2018. The provision of dog off-leash facilities within Davies Park, was not identified by the community during consultation.

Council has considered the size of the park, demand, locality and placement of existing facilities in the area. It is determined that a dog off-leash area within Davies Park does not complement or enhance other recreation opportunities in the park. However, in response to community demand, Council has recently invested in and extended the dog off-leash area in Orleigh Park, which is one of two existing dog off-leash areas along the West End/South Brisbane riverfront. Therefore, Council does not intend to formalise dog off-leash facilities in Davies Park.