This is an excellent example of how the processes of community engagement, consultation, planning and design can become something more than buzzwords, and actually create flourishing urban communities.
In 2009, a 13-year-old girl from North Adelaide Primary School started collecting signatures to create a fenced-off dog park in North Adelaide. The girl's name was Erin O'Brien. She got the idea because she had a friend, a woman who would regularly drive for almost an hour every night to take her dogs to an off-leash park in another part of town.
After collecting her signatures and presenting the petition to the Adelaide City Council, the Council soon acknowledged this was a good idea. It took 18 months more to make the plans, and consult on the plans.
Then some more time elapsed for the actual construction. After Erin's bright idea in 2009 it was in 2012 that the dog park opened. The area used to be two small cricket ovals; but they were not much used and there are plenty of other ovals in other Parks – notably in Park 2 and Park 6 not far away.
The project cost the Council $370,000. The year after it opened, that is in 2013, it was recognised as the best park of its type in Australia. The Parks and Leisure Australia National Awards, gave this Park the national honour for its community engagement and design.
The area is divided into two spaces, one for small dogs and puppies, and the other for larger dogs. The park is equipped with shelters and seating for humans, and tunnels and rally obstacles for dogs.
Today, the park is extremely popular, attracting not only locals, but others who make sometimes cross-town trips to use the park. It is a place with a real sense of community, where canines and humans alike can meet and create long-lasting friendships.
It's so good that it's been duplicated In October 2017, the City Council opened another dog park, very similar to this, in Pelzer Park / Pityarilla (Park 19) just off Glen Osmond Road near South Terrace.
Leave the dog park by one of the gates on the southern side and walk south, through the bushland, for about 100 metres. Stop, in the scrub, about 50 metres before the road junction of Medindie road and Lefevre Road