All may apply to use NParks' dog runs

The Clean Run Agility Club had its application to use the West Coast Park dog run (above) for an event turned down initially. But NParks has since explained there was a processing error and has made an apology.
The Clean Run Agility Club had its application to use the West Coast Park dog run (above) for an event turned down initially. But NParks has since explained there was a processing error and has made an apology.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

There are no exclusive agreements with any group; requests considered on case-by-case basis

All parties are welcome to apply to use NParks' dog runs for events and there are no exclusive agreements with any group for their use.

Use of the fenced enclosures, where dogs are allowed off leash, for private events, requires the submission of a proposal, and requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

NParks, however, will enter into non-exclusive partnerships with dog groups and extend fee waivers if such groups keep events free for the public and organise events regularly for dog owners.

The clarification comes after one group, Clean Run Agility Club, had its application to use the West Coast Park dog run for an event turned down initially.

Ms Sharon de Castro, 50, secretary and co-founder of the club had applied last Tuesday to use the West Coast Park dog run for an event in November.

It said that while SKC is now the only group with which it has such an arrangement, it welcomes the opportunity to work with other interest groups at the dog runs.

In an e-mail that she showed to The Straits Times, NParks had rejected her request due to "an existing agreement with Singapore Kennel Club (SKC)".

When asked by The Straits Times, NParks said it does not have an exclusive agreement with SKC or any other group.

Mr Kong Yit San, NParks Assistant CEO (Park Management & Lifestyle Cluster), said in a statement that Ms de Castro's application was rejected because of a processing error on the part of the staff managing the application. He said NParks had apologised to Ms de Castro and will discuss her application with her.

NParks manages five dog runs within its parks, and the one at West Coast Park is the biggest at about 22,000 sq m.

Ms de Castro, a former SKC member, co-founded the Clean Run Agility Club, a registered society that organises agility trials for dogs to select a Singapore team for the annual World Agility Open Championships, in November last year.

She noted that SKC holds training and competition events at the West Coast Park dog run without paying any fee to NParks, and that it has its own free on-site storage shed.

In response, NParks said that SKC's use of a demarcated area within the dog run and the storage shed is part of a non-exclusive arrangement. This is based on agreements to keep the facility free for the public as well as a commitment to organise regular outreach activities on dog ownership.

It said that while SKC is now the only group with which it has such an arrangement, it welcomes the opportunity to work with other interest groups at the dog runs.

At least one other dog group has also had issues using NParks' dog runs in the past. Ms Shanice Tan, 39, owner of SuperNova Academy of Dog Sports, said she tried to book the dog run at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park for training sessions some years ago, but was told by NParks that bookings were not allowed.

When told about NParks' clarification, she said she was glad it is opening up the dog run for partnerships with other groups, and added that she will contact them to inquire about conducting training sessions at a dog run for her academy.

Meanwhile, Ms de Castro said she is looking forward to forging a partnership between her club and NParks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2015, with the headline 'All may apply to use NParks' dog runs'. Print Edition | Subscribe