More off-leash dog areas needed

In response to growing demands for more public spaces to be made available for our furrier locals, the Central Coast Council is developing a ‘Dogs in Open Space Strategy’ to consider the management and location of off-leash areas.

8 March 2022


MEMBER for Gosford, Liesl Tesch MP agrees with the need for more open spaces that cater to dogs, noting that they foster healthier communities through opportunities for exercise and socialising with fellow dog-owners.


“Dogs really are our best friends, and they deserve to have access to large open public spaces to play and run. The good thing about dogs too is that they encourage us to get out and exercise and engage with other locals,” Ms. Tesch said.


“As the Perrottet Government is calling for walkable and active communities, this issue presents an opportunity for them to finally take some action. Off-leash dog areas should be available to all locals in a safe walking distance.”


The effort to increase the amount of off-leash dog areas comes as major park upgrades have been announced across the Peninsula, with $1.5 million allocated to Rogers Park, Woy Woy, and another $8.25 million for the Umina Skate Park and Precinct Redevelopment.


Local resident Ian Tylee expresses frustration that the extra funding does not include areas for dogs to be allowed off the leash.


“They are spending millions on park upgrades and yet there are no plans for dog-friendly areas. They’re getting skate parks, basketball courts, but what about us?” Mr. Tylee said.


“Yes you’ve got the beach but at my age my knees are bad so I can’t walk along there too much, and there are many older people like me. Also, they’ve got all this negative messaging in the paper with ‘keep your dogs on a leash’ yet do not provide any positive messaging or solutions.”


The Dogs in Open Space strategy will be presented to Council this year for community consultation and endorsement, yet Mr Tylee does not see this as a concrete plan.


“The solutions don’t need to be expensive. It can be as simple as timed periods for off-leash dog access, or temporary fencing,” he said.


Ms. Tesch hopes that these issues will be addressed and that our furriest friends will be able to enjoy more of the Central Coast without a lead.


“When managed effectively, considering both public safety and animal welfare, it is possible for more of our public areas to be off-leash. There are many accessible and appropriate areas where we can do this, and when park infrastructure is updated it is a consideration that needs to be taken into account more often,” she said.

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