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Gordon Barnard Reserve fenced dog play area

Fenced dog play areas have been growing in popularity over recent years as more and more successful examples are realised around the world. With increased pressure on the urban environment, fenced dog play areas provide a much-needed space for dogs, and their owners, to socialise and exercise in a safe and controlled environment. They offer new activities, opportunities and experiences for people to enjoy the urban parklands with their dogs.

Industry research and case studies have produced a collection of design guidelines to address both the behaviour of dogs and their owners so that the optimal experience can be provided while ensuring minimal conflict with other dogs, the local community and surrounding environment. 

In response to local community requests and changing community needs, we have expressed a desire to provide a fenced dog play area in Boroondara.


There are over 15,000 dogs registered in the City of Boroondara. While there is approximately 219 hectares of open space designated as off-leash in Boroondara, there are no dedicated fenced dog play areas that are specifically designed to cater for dogs and their owners.

Several open space reserves have been assessed based on their location and amenity, existing infrastructure and proximity to sensitive interfaces.

At the Council meeting on 9 December 2019, a report was presented and Council resolved to test community support for the development of a fenced dog play area in a portion of Gordon Barnard Reserve.

View the full report (PDF, 7.75 MB)

What is a fenced dog play area?  

A fenced dog play area is a designated public area for dog owners to legally exercise, play, train and socialise with their dogs in a secured off-leash environment. These spaces are fully enclosed, with dog friendly amenities and provide a space for dogs and their owners, to socialise and exercise in a safe and controlled environment.

Key features of a fenced dog play area

Key features that may be considered include:

  • open grassed areas for active play
  • treed mounds for explorative play
  • circulation path
  • dog nature play - balancing logs, boulders and rocks
  • shelter/meeting place (including seating)
  • plenty of seating for diverse users
  • accessible drink fountain with bottle refill and dog bowl
  • dog bag dispenser, signage and bins
  • 1.5m high fully enclosed fence with multiple entries
  • shade trees
  • additional path connections
  • irrigation to protect grass surfaces.

Community consultation

In March 2020, we conducted community consultation to seek feedback on a proposal to develop a fenced dog play area within a portion of Gordon Barnard Reserve.

We received feedback from a wide representation of the community, with over 200 local residents sharing their thoughts via email, the online survey and in person.

After analysing the feedback, Council officers presented a report to Council for their consideration at the Services Special Committee meeting held on Monday 10 August 2020.

At the meeting, Council resolved to:

  1. Note the consultation outcomes and thank all submitters for their feedback received during this process.
  2. Proceed with:
    • a reduced scope Fenced Dog Play Area in a portion of Gordon Barnard Reserve and
    • the implementation of additional ‘dog friendly play areas’ at Markham Reserve, Boroondara Park, Lynden Park and Pridmore Park, as funding permits. 
  3. Commence the process to amend the Council Order to designate a portion of Gordon Barnard Reserve as a dog off-leash area under the Domestic Animals Act 1994. 
  4. Receive a report to consider submissions received regarding the proposed amendment of the Order.

Next steps

We held community consultation seeking feedback to amend Council’s Order to establish the area set aside within Gordon Barnard Reserve (between the existing pool and eastern oval) as a designated fenced dog off-leash area.

The consultation closed on Sunday 20 September 2020.

Council officers are analysing the feedback and will prepare a report for Council’s consideration at a future meeting.

If Council decides to amend the Order, community consultation on a concept design for the fenced dog play area in the delineated portion of Gordon Barnard Reserve will follow.

    Proposed fenced dog play area

      More information

      For more information, see Gordon Barnard Reserve: fact sheet or contact our Environment and Sustainability team on 9278 4060 or at [email protected].

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