Proposed Change to Off-Leash Status of Jack Edwards Reserve Turf Pitch from 'Off-leash' to ‘No Dogs’
Project update - Council decision
At the September 26 2023 meeting, Council endorsed changing the dog off-leash area classification at Jack Edwards Reserve to:
(a) no dogs on the turf pitch
(b) dogs prohibited in the spectator areas surrounding the turf and synthetic pitches as depicted in yellow in the image below, two hours before and after National Premier League Victoria games and otherwise when either pitch is being used for scheduled games or training.
See the Council report and attachments: Report to Council 26 September 2023
An amended Dog Control Order was gazetted on 5 October 2023.
Like other inner-suburban councils, Monash is experiencing population growth and pressure on our public open spaces. With a continued increase in the number of registered dogs in Monash, planning and managing off-leash areas for people to walk and exercise their dogs is critical.
Following extensive community consultation, Council endorsed a new Off-Leash Policy in November 2022 to guide how we manage our open space with increasing dog ownership in Monash.
This process included a review of off-leash areas across Monash. From 1 July 2023, there will be an increase in the overall number of off-leash areas in Monash from 31 to 45 sites, providing residents with more equitable access to off-leash areas across the City.
Council is now seeking community feedback on its in-principle decision to change the classification of the Jack Edwards Reserve from a dog off-leash reserve to:
- no dogs on the turf pitch
- on-leash in the spectator areas surrounding the turf and synthetic pitches.
Jack Edwards Reserve
The reserve contains two playing surfaces. Currently the synthetic pitch is 'dog-free' and the grass pitch and surrounding areas are 'off-leash'.
As part of the off-leash area review undertaken in 2022, Council proposed to change the off-leash status at Jack Edwards Reserve which would see the main turf pitch become a ‘no dogs’ area and the surrounds to both the turf and synthetic pitch become a ‘dog on-leash’ area. The main turf pitch is classified as a Premier A-grade playing surface, used for National Premier League (NPL) competition and home of the Oakleigh Cannons.
Community feedback was divided with support for both the retention of the dog off-leash status of the reserve and for the reserve to become dog-free.
At the 29 November 2022 meeting, Council resolved not to reduce the existing off-leash area at Jack Edwards Reserve, with the status quo to remain, given the limited alternatives for off-leash areas in this part of the municipality.
Dog-related damage and maintenance costs recorded
Access to the main playing surface was closed earlier this year to enable turf maintenance works to occur prior to the upcoming NPL season. During this closure, repairs were undertaken to impacted turf areas attributed to dogs.
Through regular reports on the standard of the playing surface, officers have documented the resources and frequency of work required to address impacts which can be attributed to dogs over recent months and ascertained that dog damage to the premier turf pitch at Jack Edwards Reserve costs on average an estimated $300 per week and requires four hours of labour to rectify. This amount is expected to increase to $900 per week when turf will need to be sourced off-site during the competition season.