The North Oval at Victoria Park in Kew is a sporting reserve that the community uses for a variety of activities. These include:

  • sports played by local sporting teams
  • recreational exercise
  • social gatherings
  • exercise for dogs in a designated dog off-lead area.

Following consultation with the community in February 2022, Council agreed to remove the gates on the North Oval.

Shared use of the oval will continue both as a sporting reserve and for recreation and as a dog off-lead area when there are no scheduled sports training sessions or matches.

Council's decision

On careful consideration of feedback and recommendations, Council decided that:

  • the presence of gates at the North Oval is inconsistent with all other sporting reserves in Boroondara
  • the gates have significantly contributed to behaviour that has a negative impact on others people's experiences in using the oval
  • removal of the gates, alongside other measures outlined below, will make the North Oval safer and more enjoyable for all users.

Next steps

We have planned to remove the gates from the fence on Friday 13 May 2022. You can continue to enjoy the North Oval as you have been doing.

We have communicated our plans to users of the reserve by positioning signage at the North Oval.

We will make sure everyone can see the rules for using the park and other important information. This will be displayed on signage at the park and on the Victoria Park page of our website.

What you told us during the consultation

We consulted the community on whether to remove the gates on the North Oval and received almost 700 responses. The community told us how they use the oval, their experiences of sharing the space and their thoughts on removing the gates.

What you enjoy about the North Oval

Here is how these 700 community members like to use the North Oval. With the removal of the gates, you can continue to enjoy the North Oval as you have been doing.

  • Mental and physical wellbeing

    Many respondents reported enjoying the oval for exercise and to connect with others.

  • Organised sport

    The oval is home to numerous sporting clubs for organised training and matches over the summer and winter seasons.

  • Dog exercise and socialisation

    This is a popular off-lead oval for dog owners to let their dogs exercise and socialise.

  • Social gatherings

    Some respondents enjoy using this space to gather with friends and family, bring the kids and make use of the big open space.

What you didn't enjoy

We identified some common themes about your experiences of using the North Oval that were of concern:

  • Feeling unsafe: Our community wants to feel safe when using shared spaces. Unfortunately, people reported feeling unsafe at the oval due to threatening or aggressive behaviour from uncontrolled dogs.
  • Impact to amenity: The behaviour of other park visitors in failing to follow park rules has negatively impacted the experience of some respondents.
  • Damage to grounds: The oval is regularly used for sport and exercise. Many respondents reported that the oval is damaged due to dogs digging holes.
  • Unmonitored dogs: While most dog owners are responsible, many respondents commented on some dog owners failing to control their dogs, instead they rely on the gates to create a fully enclosed space.

Dog off-lead park

Victoria Park, including the North Oval, remains a dog off-lead park. The removal of the gates brings the use of Victoria Park in line with all other off-lead parks within the municipality.

For pet owners seeking an enclosed dog play area, the new Gordon Barnard Reserve Dog Play Area in Balwyn has been specially designed for this purpose. You can find out about this reserve and dog park on the City of Boroondara website.

We thank the majority of pet owners in Boroondara who are responsible and considerate of other park users when exercising and socialising their dogs.