Lights out at reserve

Poor lighting at Duke Street Reserve (Supplied)

Hannah Hammoud

Sunshine North residents are championing a petition aimed at shedding light on their local dog park issue.

The lack of adequate lighting at Duke Street Reserve in Sunshine North has prompted concerns among pet owners, limiting its use after dark.

Garnering nearly 300 signatures, the petition led by local resident Bobby Conroy, calls for the installation of lighting to extend park hours and enhance safety for both pets and their owners.

In his petition, Mr Conroy cites research linking well-lit public spaces to crime reduction and increased physical activity.

“The implementation of adequate lighting in the park would not only extend its usability into the evening hours but also significantly increase safety for both pets and their owners,” Mr Conroy said.

“I believe that this change will make a significant difference for all pet owners in Sunshine North who wish to enjoy their local park even after sunset.”

Currently Brimbank council’s policy does not include the lighting of dog off-leash parks. Instead the ‘Creating Better Parks Policy and Plan’ prioritises lighting to what council considers its highest order parks, known as ‘flagship parks’, recreational sporting facilities and walking/ cycling linkages to key community facilities.

“Council’s policies are reviewed every four to six years, and as part of the next review of ‘Creating Better Parks’, council will ensure these guidelines are in line with best practice and meet community expectations. As part of this review, the lighting of dog off leash facilities will be considered,” a Brimbank council officer said.

Mr Conroy has attempted to alert council to the growing safety concerns within the park through the ‘Snap Send Solve’ app where Brimbank residents can report problems to council.

“My safety concerns first started when one time I scared the bejeebers out of a poor girl who was in that park at night when I was walking my dog as well. Because it was dark she didn’t see me and I scared her and I felt so bad. After I alerted council, the response I got back basically said council was not willing to put the lights in.

“Another time a poor girl lost her garage remote and had no house key with her. She’s local and lives a couple streets away. It started to get dark and it was a prime example of the need for lights because it took us about an hour to try to find the remote in the dark.”