COMMITTEE members of two Ballarat dog clubs have voiced fear that the recent culling of trees near the group’s clubrooms in Morshead Park is destroying the reserve.
Leading the campaign is dog owner Bev Hardenberg who estimated council workers had cut down dozens of pine trees along Rubicon Street in recent weeks.
Ms Hardenberg said removal of the trees followed assurances from the City of Ballarat at the beginning of the year, that trees within the street would be preserved.
Ms Hardenberg said an urgent meeting was called between members of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Victoria, Ballarat Dog Club and representatives of the council when pine trees along nearby Pleasant Street were removed at the end of last year.
Ms Hardenberg said at the meeting the council reaffirmed trees along Rubicon street would not be destroyed.
But at the beginning of this month, Ms Hardenberg said she noticed a pine tree which the dog owners used to park under had been cut down.
Days later she noticed that a series of trees leading to the reserve had also been culled.
“We examined these trees beforehand and they were all healthy,” Ms Hardenberg said. “The next moment they were gone forever.”
Ms Hardenberg said the loss of trees threatened large-scale dog events held at the reserve during the warmer months.
“In this day and age there are strict rules governing dogs,” she said. “We can’t just tie them to a tree. Many of us would ensure our dogs were kept inside our cars in the shade when we were inside the clubrooms with somebody regularly checking on them, but now we won’t be able to leave them there.”
She said the members wanted to see a dog shelter built in place of the trees that had been chopped down.
“The council have spent a fortune on ratepayers money removing the trees and now they are spending more to replant them,” Ms Hardenberg said.
“There should have been consultation with the community before something like this was allowed to happen.”
The City of Ballarat would not specify the number of trees that had been cut down in Rubicon and Pleasant Streets.
City of Ballarat deputy mayor Councillor Des Hudson said the council was undertaking the works to replace ageing pine trees around Morshead Park.
Councillor Hudson said the reason the work was being conducted was to improve the “safety and amenity” of the reserve.
He said the pine trees would be progressively replaced with other tree plantings and were part of a $12 million invested in the precinct over the past five years.
“(The) Council has been in communication with user groups and residents about the tree replacement program,” Cr Hudson said.
He added that councillors would meet with members of the German Shepherd Dog Club to discuss further options for shade for dog events on Monday afternoon.