DOGGONE FENCE: Evans Head residents Jason Watson, Kylee Watson, Randy Harris, 3 and Sue Charlton are relieved after Richmond Valley Council axed its plan to fence the off-leash dog area.
DOGGONE FENCE: Evans Head residents Jason Watson, Kylee Watson, Randy Harris, 3 and Sue Charlton are relieved after Richmond Valley Council axed its plan to fence the off-leash dog area. Hamish Broome

Council to unleash dog plan that will not cause a fence

A GROUP of Evans Head residents, who a few days ago were up in arms over Richmond Valley Council's plan to create a fenced off-leash dog area in South Evans Head are celebrating after the council surprisingly cancelled the plan.

The proposed 1.2m pool-style fence, enclosing 1200sq m of an existing off- leash area next to the fish co-op, was set to be installed by Christmas.

Local vet Rod Blake said he originally contacted the council two years ago to upgrade the off-leash area after it had become overgrown and a tick hazard.

But local residents, several who live opposite the site, didn't like the idea - even though some of them have dogs.

Last week they gathered 160 signatures in a petition to stop the plan.

Local dog owners Jason and Kylee Watson were worried the fence would compromise the existing amenity of the park for activities such as fishing and picnicking.

Mr Watson said residents had been "ambushed" by the plan, despite the council conducting two surveys and advertising it on its website and in the local paper.

"There's no point taking a prime water's-edge position for a fenced-in dog run," Mr Watson said.

"You look around - and you want it to stay as natural as it can.

"A lot of people come from Casino and Lismore to use it on the weekend."

"You wouldn't be able to get a vehicle down to enjoy the water's edge."

The council's general manager, John Walker, said the angst generated locally by the proposal was enough for the council to go back on the plan, saying it was probably "overkill".

But Mr Walker promised dog walkers the area would still be trimmed and maintained, plus formal off-leash signposting installed as well as water stations, poo bags and seating.

The change in plans will cut the council's expense for the project from $30,000 to just $10,000.



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