Image shows a group photo with David Vosnacos, Guide Dog User Eric Seery with Guide Dog Sundae lying on the grass and Perth Mayor Basil Zempilas holding a sign.

First ever Assistance Animal Relief Areas at Perth’s largest community event

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For the first time ever, Perth’s largest community event will have two pop-up Assistance Animal Relief Areas at this year’s Australia Day celebrations.

The Australia Day festivities attracts about 250,000 people to the banks of the Swan River.

The Assistance Animal Relief Facilities will be at either end of Langley Park which is home to a host of entertainment from 3pm onwards.

The two temporary Assistance Animal Relief Facilities provide privacy and space for an Assistance Animal such as a Guide Dog to relieve itself.

They’ve come about thanks to VisAbility Access Specialist and Occupational Therapist David Vosnacos who sits on the City of Perth Access and Inclusion Advisory Group Panel.

He suggested the idea at a meeting last year.

“This comes off the back of the success with our new Assistance Animal Relief Areas at Perth Airport Terminals 1 and 4. They were designed with input from VisAbility and Guide Dogs WA. They are safe, designated environments that offer both comfort and dignity.”

A white picket face will contain a grassed area where the dog is able to toilet itself. The areas will be accessible and contain a dog water bowl, Braille signage, waste bag dispenser, large bin, and hand sanitizer stand.

Guide Dog Handler and Guide Dog outside on the grassThe pop-up facilities have been welcomed by Guide Dog user Eric Seery who was matched with Guide Dog Sundae five years ago. He became blind as a child following a diagnosis of Stargardt disease.

“It just makes sense and – no pun intended – is convenient for Guide Dog users. It’s a very busy event. With these facilities I know that I have somewhere to take my dog so that she won’t toilet in an area where a family might want to sit down and take a picnic.”

Perth Mayor Basil Zempilas says the pop-up facilities are part of a long-term plan to make Perth the most inclusive city in Australia.

“We are building a city that is for everyone – so making our events accessible to all is key, so they can be enjoyed by the widest possible audience”, he explains

“Furthermore, it’s a safe space for Assistance Animals to attend to their needs and takes the pressure off Assistance Animal users.”

Australia Day is a time for everyone to come together to celebrate everything to do with this country. Since its conception in 1997, Perth’s Australia Day festivities has become the largest national Australia Day celebration.

At Langley Park there will be amusement rides, obstacle courses, BMX stunt show, water playground, mini golf, food market with 20 stalls at wheelchair friendly height.

There will also be an accessible viewing area to watch the Birak Concert. It’s a concert celebrating Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander cultures and communities staged at the nearby Supreme Court Garden. The performance will be Auslan interpreted and audio described.

Guide Dogs WA provide life changing Guide and Assistance Dogs for Western Australians living with low vision, disability and illness. Guide Dogs WA is the only WA based provider of Guide Dog training services in the community. A Guide or Assistance Dog provides independence, freedom, safety and companionship to Western Australians and their families.

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