New park for Southbank’s surging dog population
By David Schout
Dog registrations in Southbank have soared during the past 12 months as locals turned to newfound friends during the coronavirus lockdowns.
The number of dogs registered in the area jumped almost 25 per cent in the 12 months to March 2021 (from 341 dogs to 420).
Cavoodles are Southbank’s overwhelming most popular breed (53 dogs), with more than double the next-highest in Miniature Dachshunds (20).
Poodle Toy (16), Jack Russell Terrier X (13) and Pugs (12) round out the top five breeds within postcode 3006.
And in good news for new and existing dog owners in the area, the City of Melbourne announced in March that it was set to start construction on a new much-needed Southbank dog park.
The new park will be situated at a disused area beneath the Kings Way southern undercroft, and forms part of the council’s City Road Master Plan.
“All dogs love getting out and exercising and meeting new furry friends, but living in an apartment can make that more challenging,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
“Southbank residents have told us that they want to see more pet-friendly spots around the neighbourhood, and this new park will give locals dogs the opportunity to run and play in a safe environment.”
Southbank is the most densely-populated area in Australia, and a lack of open space has long been the source of angst among local residents.
Cr Capp said the council had looked to address this.
“The delays to the delivery of the City Road Master Plan have been disappointing but we will start work on this project next month, and we are committed to delivering more open space for humans and their doggos throughout Southbank.”
Environment portfolio chair Rohan Leppert gave further details of the dog park.
“The off-leash area is the size of a basketball court and is filled with play equipment to delight pups big and small,” he said.
Work is due to begin in late April, with the opening scheduled for later this year.
A pedestrian crossing was also being planned to allow access to the off-leash park from nearby Boyd Park.
“With more than 400 dogs living in Southbank, it was an easy decision to include a space designed just for them in our plans to revitalise the City Road area,” Cr Leppert said.
The huge rise in dog ownership in Southbank was more than double the nine per cent increase seen across the municipality in 2020.
Cavoodles remain the most popular breed within the City of Melbourne, and the council saw a 50 per cent increase in greyhounds and 30 per cent more spoodles •
Top 20 dog breeds in Southbank
Cavoodle: 53 dogs
Miniature Dachshund: 20
Poodle Toy: 16
Jack Russell Terrier X: 13
Jack Russell Terrier: 11
Golden Retriever: 10
West Highland Terrier: 9
French Bulldog: 8
Shih Tzu X: 8
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: 7
Maltese x Shih Tzu: 7
Yorkshire Terrier: 7
Poodle X: 6
Maltese Terrier X: 6