A designated off-leash dog park has long been a hot topic of conversation among Barossa residents.
All too regularly, social media groups are asked the question of where a newcomer/tourist might safely be able to give their dog a run and each time, they are surprised and disappointed to learn such a placce doesn’t exist.
Across the state, South Australia has nearly 90 designated dog parks – but not one of them falls within this region, despite its status as a premier tourist destination.
When the Fund My Neighbourhood project was announced by the Weatherill Government in this year’s State Budget, it provided a perfect opportunity for Barossa dog owners to make their voice heard and advocate for a facility which really should be a staple in every council area.
And several people took a leap of faith by submitting various proposals – three in total, among 39 different projects.
But when these were assessed by The Barossa Council, they did not receive in principle support, largely based on the predicted cost for such a facility – between $200,000 to $300,000 to establish, plus ongoing costs.
To be honest, we were gobsmacked by these figures, especially when we heard that a nearby community had set up its own one acre dog park for the princely sum of $8000.
This community – which we’ll tell you more about in coming weeks – manages the park themselves with support from their local council.
While the Fund My Neighbourhood proposals have failed to get council support, there is clearly a want – and need – for an off-leash facility in this region.
Yes, there are several open areas where dog owners can let their dogs off for a run if they so wish.
But, they are not secure – one can only imagine the outcry if a dog were to run onto a road nearby and cause a traffic incident.
There is also confusion among other residents and visitors to the region as to what is allowable and where, with local dog owners all too regularly subject to derision for allowing their dogs to run off-leash.
A simple, well-fenced area should be achievable – and at a modest cost, too.
There’s no shortage of old vineyard posts, to start with, and we’re sure dog owners would be more than happy to help keep the area in suitable condition.
Build it, and they will come.