Confidence growing council will support off-leash dog park

By David Rak

HE MIGHT not have an ironclad guarantee but Craig Guy is confident approval and funding for an off-leash dog park in Heathcote will be granted in the near future.

City of Greater Bendigo councillors endorsed prioritising funding for a new park in its 2019-20 budget at a meeting in November, despite concerns around the state of the proposed Depot Rd site.

The matter was brought before council after a petition with 271 signatures from the Heathcote community was tabled in August calling for an off-leash dog park.

The Depot Rd site contains a large number of rocks and is heavily vegetated, including natives from tree-planting projects.

Cr Yvonne Wrigglesworth said there was planning to do before work could begin and excessive vegetation removal needed to be avoided.

“We know that it is very densely vegetated at the moment and this could provide a risk of concealment for humans and animals,” she said.

“That’s going to need a lot of work if we are to choose such a site.”

In preparation of the Heathcote township plan, a community survey included a question about the potential for a dog park at Depot Rd.

Of the 121 responses, 55 per cent supported the proposal, 31 per cent was not concerned one way or the other and only 14 per cent did not support the dog park.

Craig has already secured $2500 from the Heathcote Community Bank towards the project and is seeking additional external funding through grants, sponsorships and donations.

“I don’t think there is a lot of clearing to be done to make this a reality. No doubt there is work to be done, but that’s nothing some motivated volunteers can’t handle,” he said.

“We have a large group of people who want to make this happen. We are ready and willing to do whatever work needs to be done to get the park approved.”

Craig said while other locations for the park had been discussed and explored, the Depot Rd site was perfect for the Heathcote community.

“All the area is being used for is drainage. With a bit of work we can maintain it as a drainage area and build a picturesque spot for people to bring the whole family for some sun and exercise,” he said.

“Standing at the site looking around is exciting. You can just see how great it will be when we have it cleaned up and ready for people to enjoy.

“I’m very excited to see some progress and work getting under way. Council has been great to work with in making this happen. It’s going to be a fantastic addition to our community.”