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New dog exercise area at Virginia Ryan Park

Fremantle Council has voted to create a new off-lead dog exercise area at Virginia Ryan Park.

The City of Fremantle floated the idea of adding Virginia Ryan Park to the city’s available dog exercise areas earlier this year.

Fremantle Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said allowing dogs to be exercised off-lead at Virginia Ryan Park would take some of the pressure off neighbouring Stevens Reserve.

“Fremantle residents love their dogs, and we are fortunate to have many parks and beaches where dogs can be let off the leash and have a good run around,” Mayor Fitzhardinge said.

“Stevens Reserve is one of Fremantle’s premier sporting facilities, being the home of Fremantle District Cricket Club in summer and Fremantle Hockey Club training and playing games there in winter.

“While Stevens Reserve and other sporting ovals around Fremantle are off-lead dog exercise areas for most of the time, whenever an authorised sporting activity is taking place – either training or a match – dogs must be kept on a leash.

“By making Virginia Ryan Park an off-lead exercise area, it provides dog owners with a nearby alternative for the times when sport is being played at Stevens Reserve.”

Mayor Fitzhardinge said another important amendment to the City’s Dog Exercise and Prohibited Areas Policy was to make Stevens Reserve on-lead only whenever the covers were in place on the centre cricket wickets. This will be indicated by red flags placed around the reserve.

“Some dog owners may not be aware that the covers are placed over the cricket pitches to stop them from getting wet when it rains,” Mayor Fitzhardinge said.

“Even the smallest tear in the covers from a dog’s claws can allow the rain to seep in and ruin the pitch, which can result in matches being delayed or abandoned.

“The covers are also very expensive for the cricket club to replace when they get damaged.

“If dog owners and the cricket club are going to successfully share Stevens Reserve it’s really important to keep dogs off the centre wicket areas, especially when the covers are down.”

Last night the council also approved modifications to the fencing at Stevens Reserve by removing the existing gates at two entry points and creating ‘chicane type’ entries that would encourage dog owners to keep control of their pets.

Fencing will also be installed around the nearby Knutsford Street Reserve, which is an existing dog off-lead area.

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