Update 29/11/2019 - Park opening cancelled
Bushfires have put a precautionary halt to the planned opening celebrations at Brakenbush Unleashed Dog Park just out of Lakes Entrance this Saturday.
Organisers have been working with the CFA, but feel it is just too risky to have an event.
“It is disappointing and probably an unpopular call but although the fire is calm at the moment it is only 20 kilometres away and has been behaving erratically,” Cheryl Jakobi said.
“We were expecting between 100 and 200 people to attend and we would be responsible for their fire safety.
“The CFA told me that the Bruthen fire has been a particularly erratic one; it has been heading in one direction and spotting in the other, so I feel we are making the right decision.”
Brackenbush Unleashed is set to open this Saturday thanks to funding from the Victorian Government’s Pick My Project program.
The grant enabled Sara Bailey, Cheryl Jakobi and the Lakes Entrance Grain Shed to design and build Lakes Entrance’s newest off-leash park.
The grand opening, aptly titled ‘Barking Mad Summer Fun – A Dog’s Day Out’ will start at 10am and will include food, coffee and a doggy treat bar.
The park has free entry and the features have been cleverly created with three fully fenced areas.
The sections each have a special name. These include Hills-n-Hollows, Walk In Nature and Nervous Nellies.
“The Nervous Nellie area is a smaller section of the park where nervous dogs or people can start their off-leash dog experience,” Sara, who is also a practicing veterinarian, said.
“If you’re not quite sure if your dog is going to come back this is the place to start. It’s a smaller section and limited to one household of dogs at a time.”
Each section includes natural shade, water barrels and poo composting stations.
“We have pooper scoopers and compost bins so there is no need for plastic bags,” Cheryl said.
“I have long wanted to be involved in a project that helps grow the community and it is very exciting to finally be able to do that.
“We are looking forward to everyone enjoying the bush setting. We have a large car park, public restrooms and access gates to the on-leash bush walks in Colquhuon State Forest.”
Although the park has not had its official opening, it has been operating for some weeks.
“It’s amazing how many are using it already. We are averaging 10 to 15 dogs a day and had 40 last Sunday,” Cheryl said.
“The Pick My Project is so happy to hear we are already going above expectations.”
Cheryl and Sara are keen to build social enterprises that help the community.
“Our aim is to create a destination with cafe and whole farm experience and create employment in an environmentally sustainable way,” Cheryl said.
The park is open daylight hours, with Cheryl confirming, “if the sun is up, the park is open”. It is closed on days of total fire ban.
PHOTO: Smith Creative