Dogs allowed off leashes in some areas

Liz Brunette, ward councillor, Ward 62

At the Sub-council 20 meeting held on Wednesday October 18, councillors supported the request for dogs to be allowed to roam free without a leash in designated greenbelts in Constantia.

The City’s Animal By-law (Section 6) prohibits dogs “to be in any public street or public place except on a leash and under control unless the dog is in an area designated by the council as a free running area”, as was the situation previously.

The Public Parks By-law (Section 13) requires signage to indicate where dogs must be on a leash, where dogs may run free and where dogs are prohibited.

In May last year I requested a review of the greenbelts, parks and public open spaces where dogs will be allowed to run free without a leash, and in March this year, the sub-council conducted an extensive public participation process regarding specific locations in Ward 62 where dogs may be allowed without leashes.

Using criteria developed by the City’s recreation and parks department, a workshop was held to consider all the comments received from members of the public and specify the reasons for dogs to be on a leash, off a leash, or prohibited in each of the identified 20 locations.

Ten greenbelts have been identified where dogs may run free.

A summary of comments received from the public, the criteria used to determine where dogs may run free, and the recommendation for each location meeting the parks department’s criteria are annexures to the report that was on the sub-council meeting agenda.

The City’s Parks department will erect appropriate signage in parks, public open spaces and greenbelts in Ward 62 to enforce the recommendations.

Dogs are allowed off a leash, under the control of the person walking a dog, in the following greenbelts; Bel Ombre Meadow (except in the nesting owl season and in the area of the cycle trail), Boschenheuval Arboretum, Diep River trail (except in the area between Bel Ombre Ave and Southern Cross Drive which is a high use area for cyclists), Grootboskloof trail, Keysers River trail, Pagasvlei trail, Sillery trail, Silverhurst trail, Spaanschemat trail, and Wolwekloof trail.

Dogs must be on leashes and under the control of the responsible person walking the dog in the following locations; Alphen Common, Alphen trail, Constantia cemetery, De Hel heritage and biodiversity site, Doordrift trail, Klaasenbosch trail, Liesbeek River trail and Upper Liesbeek River Garden, Maynardville Park, Wynberg Park and all community parks. Reasons include conflict with other users including the vulnerable, and damage caused by dogs to the sensitive natural environment in heavily used areas.

Dogs are not allowed in the fenced area of the Parish Park because of conflict with other users, particularly children using the play equipment.

The greenbelts where dogs may run free without a leash provide opportunities for walkers to use greenbelts in the ward with their dogs running free.