10 April 2024

Forest Hill resident works with Wagga Council to give dog park new life

| Jarryd Rowley
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Parks and Recreation Assets Officer Rob Owers

Parks and Recreation Assets Officer Rob Owers worked with Forest Hill resident Miranda Smith for more than a year to get the park in working order. Photo: Wagga Wagga City Council.

Dog owners in Forest Hill can now enjoy a freshly upgraded dog park following a year of residents working with Wagga Wagga City Council (WWCC).

WWCC allocated $40,000 to the project to add new concrete paths, running water, a picnic setting and shelter and additional seating.

While the site has now received a complete overhaul, WWCC wasn’t made aware of the poor state of the park until Forest Hill resident Miranda Smith emailed about its condition in the first half of 2023.

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“I’ve been living in Forest Hill for just over two years and for about 18 months I had been taking him [dog Baxter] to the park, but for a long time there was no water connection,” she said.

“I went, ‘What’s a dog park without having working water?”

Miranda brought this to the attention of WWCC Parks and Recreation Assets Office Rob Owers, who provided updates and roadmaps about potential park designs with Miranda over the next year.

“I emailed council about 12 months ago and Rob [Owers] replied to me and said that wasn’t an unreasonable request and that he was going to allocate some funds during the next financial year,” she said.

“I’ve been really happy with their response; he [Mr Owers] was pretty realistic with the time frame from the start.

The dog park now has water, cement paths and a new seating area.

The dog park now has water, cement paths and a new seating area. Photo: Wagga Wagga City Council.

“I followed up with him a couple of times through the year and he always had some kind of update for me.

“He told me that he worked closely with Riverina Water to get a tap connected, then he sent me a mind map design and asked my opinion when it was all drawn up.”

Miranda was one of the first to see the park following its completion and has given it her seal of approval.

“I was going for a walk with one of my neighbours and we walked past it after it had been blocked off for about a week,” she said.

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“It was really satisfying to see it all completed and to know I helped bring it to the council’s attention.

“All weekend the place was absolutely buzzing, which is so good because before the upgrades it was pretty dead and you were lucky to see another dog there.

“It was really good to see that council noticed that Forest Hill needs a little bit of work, we feel pretty forgotten out there at the moment. We aren’t a small suburb anymore.

“I think things like the dog park help make Forest Hill better and it was definitely a little win.”

The Forest Hill Off-Leash Area can be found between Kurrajong Avenue and Cypress Street.

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