Dog ban to protect sensitive vegetation at Royal Park

Brendan Rees

A sensitive native vegetation area at Royal Park will become a dog prohibited zone following calls from the community.

The City of Melbourne will install signs warning the public to keep their dogs off the site known as the Royal Park west native remnant vegetation area after the Friends of the Royal Park (FoRP) raised concerns the ecosystem had been vulnerable to damage.

The dog ban was endorsed by City of Melbourne councillors at their June 28 council meeting, which considered a review of dogs in open space across the municipality – in which an off-leash dog area was approved at Manningham Reserve to the west of Royal Park.

It is proposed to be an off leash use only outside of organised sporting activity with no additional fencing proposed.

The council’s planning portfolio deputy lead Cr Rohan Leppert said he was “delighted” with the dog prohibition decision, which he described as the “one of the most sensitive ecosystems in the municipality”.

The FoRP said it too was “very pleased” after it made many calls for the park’s significant vegetation to be protected.

“This site was recognised as a special native vegetation area in 1990 and since then, friends’ groups and the council have worked to protect its vegetation and enhance its biodiversity and habitat values,” FoRP secretary Kaye Oddie said.

 

“Its ecology was vulnerable to damage from dogs and people going through the site, so the declaration prohibiting dogs is very much welcomed and people are asked to stay on the main path.”

 

A second remnant native vegetation site is Brens remnant vegetation site, although this was not approved as a dog prohibited area by the council but will be considered during the forthcoming review of the Royal Park Master Plan. The FoRP also wishes to expand the “dogs prohibited” zone around the Australian Native Garden Pond.

In approving seven off-leash dog areas across the municipality, Cr Leppert said finding open spaces was very difficult but thanked the council’s management team who had undertaken a multi-stage public consultation process.

Parks approved as off-leash dog areas include Manningham Reserve in Parkville, Wellington Park in East Melbourne, Point Park and Ron Barassi Snr Park in Docklands, Eades Park in West Melbourne, Riverside Park in Kensington.

Murchison Square in Carlton was considered but removed from the list, with the council to consult further with the community. •

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