26 September 2023

Popular dog area in off-leash review

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City Services has launched a review into the suitability of the Inner South’s Orana Bay’s dog off-leash exercise area, following complaints from local residents and the risks posed to pedestrians, cyclists, wildlife and the dogs themselves.

The Directorate said the popular off-leash exercise area, neighbouring Weston Park and the Yarralumla Dog Park, was one of six off-leash swimming areas announced in October 2019.

“Due to its close proximity to the Yarralumla Dog Park, some people walk their dogs off-leash between the two locations, which poses a risk to pedestrians and cyclists as well as to the dogs themselves,” City Services said.

“Since Orana Bay was declared a dog exercise area, the ACT Government has also received complaints from local residents about off-leash dogs straying onto their property and harassing wildlife,” it said.

“The review will explore all options for the future use of Orana Bay, including keeping it as a dog off-leash exercise area, introducing time-share arrangements, which limit when dogs can be off-leash, or changing it to a dog on-leash area.”

City Services said the aim of the review was to achieve a balance that ensured sufficient space for dogs to exercise, while minimising conflict with other recreational users and protecting the environment and wildlife.

The Directorate said community feedback would help it identify areas for improvement and inform the future use of Orana Bay as a dog off-leash exercise area.

“As part of the review, there will be increased patrols by Domestic Animal Services rangers at Orana Bay to educate dog owners on their responsibilities and to increase compliance,” it said.

“We know that many people (and their dogs) like going to the area to enjoy some off-leash exercise and swimming and that they keep their dogs under effective control.”

City Services said people could have their say on the off-leash area by completing an online survey before 15 March, or by attending pop-up feedback sessions at Yarralumla Dog Park, 4.30pm-6.30pm on 16 February and at Orana Bay Yarralumla, 10.30am-12.30pm on 26 February.

The Directorate’s Orana Bay survey can be accessed at this PS News link.

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