Why waste money on a dog park?

Peter Bridger, Bergvliet

The Bergvliet Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association committee plan to waste money on a dog park off Ladies Mile Road.

Why a waste of money because we have the Meadowridge Common which has been home to dog walkers since we first moved into the area back in the 1970s. It is very overgrown at the moment, there is a somewhat small bit which has plants that needs to be looked after, but for the rest its wild.

Pity the selfish football club got their way and had the ground fenced in, taking up area which was used by all, dog walkers, fathers and their children to fly kites, kick balls around and a lot more. The ground is used for four to five months in the year which we ratepayers pay for, the upkeep and the fence. This is the start of the complaints.

* Bergvliet Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association (BMRA), Mark Schäfer, chairman, responds:

BMRA does not intend to “waste” money on anything. We do not have the resources to spend on dog parks. We have suggested that some under-utilised public open spaces within our area should be developed by the City as community amenities to allow for residents to exercise their dogs off lead without having to drive to the Greenbelts or Tokai forest etc.

For safety reasons these designated “dog parks” would need to be fenced – which would require funding.

We believe this would be a beneficial and justified addition to the amenities our resident ratepayers currently enjoy. The dog parks would probably be utilised to a greater extent than the cycle lanes and recreational parks in the area.

The Meadowridge Common is a declared conservation area and does not allow for dogs to run free legally – they have to be leashed and walkers need to stick to defined pathways to protect the vegetation.

No doubt the Friends of Meadowridge Common can be contacted for comment on the state of this land and the harm that free-running dogs cause.

It is my under-standing that the soccer fields are leased and maintained by the soccer club and very little, if any, monetary assistance is received from the City.

Land leased from the City is not generally open to the public in the same way that public open spaces are. It is further my understanding that the area was fenced at the expense of the club to secure the site from vandalism and dog-walkers who failed to pick up after their dogs.

I am sure the chairman of the soccer club can provide further comment in this regard.