The Radloff Park development

PICTURE: CAROLYN FROST

Councillor Stuart Pringle, Somerset West

Radloff Park is currently utilised for various activities including jogging, dog-walking and both formal and informal sporting.

The formal sports are concentrated in the part of the park which falls under the facility management committee (FMC).

There are currently no plans to develop or allow development in the area utilised by dog walkers, a large part of which it falls within the boundaries of the protected natural environment and is thus afforded special protection from development.

According to the City’s by-laws, the entire area is designated as on-leash, a de facto leash free area in the park exists, and an official undertaking to establish one has been initiated by the recreation and parks department.

The public comment period of 21 days on the proposed dog off-leash area ran from 19 September 19 2017 to October 17 2017. Notice for public comment was advertised in various local newspapers and further communicated to organisations listed on the sub-council database.

The item has taken several months of engagement and consideration, largely as a result of the need to deal with prescripts of the by-law in applying it to Radloff Park, particularly as there was a desire to avoid fencing off the area.

The numerous submissions made it clear that residents were not in favour of the small fenced off area proposed by the City.

The alternative of a time based system was deemed more favourable by respondents as proposed by the City in the item serving before sub-council on Thursday April 19. These are the times proposed by the City:

Weekdays: from Sunrise to 10am and from 3pm to sunset

Weekends: from Sunrise to 10am and from 1pm to sunset

In light of the fact that the overwhelming majority of users of the park are those who walk their dogs, I will be proposing the following amendments:

Weekdays: from Sunrise to 11am and from 3pm to sunset

Weekends: from Sunrise to 11am and from 2pm to sunset

The sub-council report distinguishes between the area utilised falling under the sports clubs which make up the FMC. It is clear that the leadership of Friends of Radloff Park and the FMC have been able to ensure that dog walkers and sports participants don’t encroach on each other’s spaces.

This has been a long, and at times, difficult process, but I believe that by taking the time to consult adequately we have come up with a proposal which satisfies as wide a range of users of the park as possible.

The response to the participation process has been massive, clearly showing that Radloff Park is a valued jewel in Somerset West. I look forward to continued positive engagement to ensure that it remains that way, to the benefit of all users.