Dog killed at off-leash park prompts safety push
A PETITION has been started in Nambour to make the Petrie Park off-leash dog park safe, after an incident and a number of close calls with pets and traffic.
Up to 50 residents and their dogs have gathered at the park at morning and afternoon for about three years.
The area, which is not fenced, backs onto Petrie Park Rd and dog owners are calling for action after an incident three weeks ago in which one of their dogs was killed by a semi-trailer.
Kirthi Demeijer said the dog park area, which could not be fenced because of flooding, either needed speed bumps installed on the road to slow traffic, or to be moved back to its former location, at the Blue Demon Hockey Club at the other end of the park.
Mrs Demeijer said up until four months ago they shared the hockey field, cleaned up their dog mess and it was a much safer situation for their pets, who would not be close to the road.
Now the dog owners meet in a different section of the park separated from the hockey field by bollards.
The area backs onto Petrie Park Rd and, with no fencing, owners are worried about their pets.
Mrs Demeijer said the daily meeting for pet owners and dogs had become a family gathering.
When she moved to the Coast, she was told about the gathering and ended up meeting her future husband at the park.
Peter Charles echoes her sentiments.
Mr Charles, who previously owned a dog kennel in Bundaberg, lost his business during the floods, and seven months later his wife died.
He moved to Rosemount to live with his daughter and brings his two dogs to the park every morning at 6am.
"Without this I don't know where I'd catch up with people and socialise, my dogs love it."
A Nambour business owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, said when she and her husband moved to town it was how they made friends.
"I think it's absurd there is no safe dog park," the owner said.
"Since we stopped being able to use the hockey field all the people with their dogs have been moved closer to the road with no barrier.
"I understand they can't put a barrier up because it floods, so why not find us another space?
"People are now driving to Buderim for a safe area.
"I know of two dogs that have been hit there and there has been so many near misses.
"The council has an obligation and a duty of care."
Councillor Greg Rogerson, who is a patron of the Blue Demon Hockey Club, said Petrie Park was currently tenured to the club.
"Over time, the area has become popular with dog owners as a place for them to exercise their pets, however for health and safety reasons, local sports fields that are tenured to sporting clubs are not dog off-leash areas," he said.
"To provide a safer amenity for the hockey players and to assist the dog owners, the hockey club, in conjunction with council and the community, agreed for a portion of the park, outside of the formal field area, to be used as a dog off-leash area.
"Petrie Park is a flood-prone area so it was not possible to install traditional fencing for the off-leash area.
"We understand that a dedicated, fenced dog off-leash area is required to accommodate demand and council is investigating potential locations in Nambour to find a suitable, sustainable outcome to better meet the needs of the community."