For several years now, we’ve been advocating strongly for a new dog off-leash area (‘DOLA’) in the 4101 postcode, because the two existing West End DOLAs weren’t big enough. My office allocated funding to expand the Orleigh Park DOLA (off Hill End Terrace) a couple of years ago following a participatory budgeting process, but there still wasn’t enough capacity to meet demand in the local area. The only other dog off-leash area was the long narrow one along Riverside Drive (just south of Hockings St). It was damaged in the Feb ’22 floods and has been out of action ever since.
This week, Gabba Ward residents received a newsletter from the mayor which included a surprise announcement that a new dog off-leash area will be installed in Jolly Place Park at 53 Grey St, South Brisbane. This newsletter was literally the first time I’d heard about this proposal, and from what I can gather, there has been no consultation with residents or other stakeholders about this idea.
The old Riverside Drive DOLA was actually constructed many years ago on State Government land (not BCC parkland) and is sitting on top of a formal industrial site with heavy contaminants beneath the soil. The council, the state government, and the developers who own the neighbouring private block of land are all in ongoing debates and discussions about how to share the cost of cleaning up this underground contamination, which is slowly leeching out into the river. This is essentially why the flood-damaged DOLA wasn’t reopened on that site.
Since the February floods last year, I’ve been asking the council officers and the LNP chairs where they will install a new DOLA, so on some level I feel pleased about the mayor’s surprise announcement and I suppose I should be taking some credit.
But the thing is, Jolly Place Park is small and is directly alongside some very busy roads. The entire block (including the nooks and garden beds and old picnic bench) is 1500m2, and the flat area that could feasibly be fenced off as a DOLA at low cost is maybe only 700m2 or 800m2. If you fence off an area that small, it’s likely to turn into a dustbowl very quickly.
The LNP have said they’re pushing ahead with this location, regardless of what the public thinks, because there simply aren’t any other good locations for a DOLA. This of course highlights the broader problem that we still don’t have enough public parkland to cater for the approximately 35 000 (and growing) residents who now live in the 4101 postcode.
Even though the LNP are saying the decision has already been made, I’d still like to know what residents think about the suitability of Jolly Place as a DOLA location. Feel free to email me your feedback via [email protected]
I can’t help but shake my head at the contrast between how much consultation my office went through regarding the new Kangaroo Point dog off-leash area that was installed beside Annie Street, and the fact that there was no public consultation at all before the LNP announced this new DOLA location in South Brisbane.
My view is that even if a small new DOLA is installed at 53 Grey St, South Brisbane, we will still need another new DOLA somewhere in the suburb of West End or northern Highgate Hill to cater for growing demand. If you agree, you can send an email to the mayor at [email protected] to highlight that a small dog off-leash area at Jolly Place might be a nice start, but it’s not enough to meet the existing community need, let alone further population growth, and that the mayor needs to cough up the money to create new public parkland in West End too.