DOGS will need to be kept on a lead at all times on the Railway Reserve Heritage Trail (RRHT) after the Mundaring Shire council voted against allowing dogs to be walked off-leash between 4pm and 10am.
The section of RRHT that passes through Mundaring has long been a popular dog-walking trail and although dogs are required to be kept under effective control at all times – essentially requiring dogs be kept on a leash – it is a regulation that many local residents ignore.
The issue came to a head at council on Tuesday night, with Shire officers recommending RRHT be declared an on leash area at all times.
Deputy Shire president Lynn Fisher moved an amendment to the report recommendation that would allow dog owners to exercise dogs off-leash on the trail between the hours of 4pm and 10am.
Councilors Doug Jeans, James Martin, Fisher and Ian Green spoke in support of the amendment.
Cr Green said he found the evidence in the administrations report “flimsy and unsubstantial”.
“I feel personally it is [incumbent] on me to represent the community and I believe imposing a curfew of 4pm to 10am is fair and reasonable,” he said.
Cr Tony Brennan disagreed with Cr Green’s claim the officer’s report was bias.
“This is not a question of all or nothing, we’re not saying dog owners cannot exercise their dogs, all we’re saying is that dogs must be on lead,” he said.
The Shire received 42 submissions in favour of having the RRHT as a dog exercise area between the times of 4pm to 10am and on-lead from 10am to 4pm with 39 submission objecting to the trail being off-leash at any time.
Two of the 28 submissions received by the Shire opposing dogs off leash on the RRHT were from the Environmental Advisory Committee and Mundaring Ratepayers Association.
The Council heard two deputations from the public, one for and one against the report’s recommendation to declare the heritage trail an on-leash area at all times.
Hovea resident and former Shire councillor Jenny Johnson said she had lived close to the trail for 35 years and said the report recommendation was in the best interest of the community and encouraged councillors to vote in favour of the recommendation.
Speaking against the report recommendation, Philip Daniels of Darlington said the report contained too much emotion and was bias towards keeping the area as on-leash.
“This is an amenity for the community, they’re clearly telling you they want this,” he said.
Cr Fisher’s motion was ultimately defeated 4-7 with the officer’s recommendation passed 7-4.
The decision to designate three other areas – lot 100 Hardey Road, Glen Forrest (excluding Glen Forret Community Garden lease area), Lots 377 and 378 Chartwell Way, Swan View and Mundaring Arena Oval – as dog exercise areas was passed without comment.
By Claire Ottaviano