Further alternatives for leash-free dog parks will be considered when the council forms next financial year’s operational plan.
Dog owners have praised the leash-free dog park at Laurieton’s Henry Kendall Reserve as providing a social space to exercise their dogs freely.
The Henry Kendall Reserve leash-free dog park officially opened in July.
Leash-free dog parks are also earmarked at Boom Reserve in Port Macquarie’s Clifton area and the planned sports facility at Wauchope.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council at its September meeting agreed to consider further alternatives for leash-free dog parks in the formation of the 2018-2019 operational plan.
Cr Rob Turner said leash-free dog parks didn’t really exist five years ago.
He said they were a real asset to the community.
Mayor Peta Pinson spoke about the community support for leash-free dog parks.
A report went to the September council meeting after Cr Turner asked for a list of possible locations for leash-free dog parks across the local government area.
The report said council recognised the need to provide areas which allowed people to exercise their dogs.
The opportunity to exercise dogs off-leash was in the past limited to specific beaches in the local government area.
Leash-free dog parks are now on the council agenda.
In 2011, a review of the council’s Dogs in Public Open Spaces Policy was extended to consider the development of leash-free dog parks.
Staff considered sites that could be developed as off-leash dog parks with a view to providing one each in the Camden Haven, Port Macquarie and Wauchope.
Staff developed a site suitability criteria and undertook an assessment of sites.
Ten potential sites were identified and community consultation occurred.
The council in 2011 formally adopted Henry Kendall Reserve, Boom Reserve and the planned sports facility for Wauchope as leash-free dog park sites.
An update to the council’s September meeting said the parks portfolio included 168 parks and 19 outdoor sports complexes.
Identifying all potential locations for leash-free dog parks from this number of sites is a comprehensive task which could not be achieved in time to provide a report back to the September 2017 council meeting.
A desktop analysis of potential sites identified 72 sites across the local government area with potential to accommodate development of leash-free dog parks.
Those sites range from Bonny Hills to Comboyne, Dunbogan, Kendall, Laurieton, Pembrooke, North Shore, Port Macquarie, Pappinbarra, Telegraph Point, Wauchope and Thrumster.
More detailed site analysis would be needed.