Evelyn Halliday Reserve off Wright Road at Stirling has been a public space since it was bequeathed to the Adelaide Hills Council.
But it wasn’t until a 0.8ha fenced dog park with car park was built in the 4ha reserve two years ago that the area really became popular. What was once an infrequently visited green space at the end of a no through road has now become a magnet for pet owners across the Hills.
It’s no wonder the householders on Wright Road are upset about suddenly losing their privacy and amenity.
The council’s response of setting daylight time limits on the park seems to be a reasonable solution to the problem, and one that most dog park users support.
It remains to be seen whether owners will comply with the 9am start on weekends and public holidays and whether the residents will be satisfied with the sunset closure, as opposed to the 7pm closure their petition requested.
One issue that should be addressed is the need for more dog parks to take the pressure off Wright Road – and not just in the Adelaide Hills Council area.
According to a council survey, up to 20% of park users are travelling from the Mt Barker Council district to use the facility, and they really want a dog park of their own in Mt Barker or Littlehampton.
Perhaps the councillors there should give some thought to the 30% of the population who own dogs in their area and provide a dog park, or at least some properly defined off leash areas.
At the moment off leash areas in Mt Barker are rather ambiguously mapped.
Change in attitude
The Inverbrackie detention facility is a fascinating example of how quickly public opinion can change.
Back in late 2010, when former Prime Minister Julia Gillard sprang the centre concept on the community, angry people packed two public meetings and spoke long and loudly about security concerns, falling property values and the erosion of services to locals.
Now there is an online petition started by a Mt Barker detention facility advocate to keep the site open.
And the Adelaide Hills Council is about to write to the local Federal MP Jamie Briggs and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to ask them to think twice about closing Inverbrackie because of the adverse economic impact the closure could have on the district.
However, the Government has made no secret of its intention to close the facility so this change of heart is likely to fall on deaf ears.