Central Coast Council is now inviting all interested community members to share their feedback on the revised draft Dogs in Open Space Action Plan (revised draft Plan) until Sunday 1 October 2023.
The revised draft Plan has been simplified and refined in response to the extensive community feedback received during the first round of consultation, as well as further technical studies and community workshops on key issues of concern. These key issues included seasonal and timed beach access and the suitability of off leash areas (OLAs) at Davistown, Terrigal and Hamlyn Terrace.
Council’s Director Environment and Planning, Alice Howe said there are many safety, environmental, social and operational factors that have been considered when developing the revised draft Plan.
“Council received a huge response following the exhibition of the first draft Plan, and on 31 July 2023, released a Consultation Report which provided an in-depth analysis of what we heard from the community during the exhibition period,” Dr Howe said.
“Council staff also recently held community workshops in August to share feedback about the first round of consultation, further refine the revised draft Plan and to explore potential solutions to the key issues identified. An example of this has been the removal of the proposal for seasonal or timed beach access.
“One of the key objectives of the revised draft Plan is to improve off leash infrastructure and increase the amenity at OLAs, while balancing safety, environmental, social and operational factors. Council proposes a net increase of seven OLAs, which would take the total number of OLAs across the Central Coast from 61 to 68. The revised draft Plan also identifies ways in which the off leash experience for dogs and their owners can be improved, such as providing additional bins, seating, and shade, as well as play and enrichment opportunities.
“That said, we want to hear from everyone in our community on the revised draft Plan – whether you own a dog or not – as it’s important that all community members can access and enjoy our open spaces safely.”
Council Administrator, Rik Hart said the best outcomes are generated when Council and the community work together.
“I understand the Central Coast community is passionate about dogs in their area, which can become a polarising topic for locals. Council has prepared this revised draft Plan with this in mind, taking on board the various views from our community, together with a range of other factors, and is placing it on public exhibition for a second time,” Mr Hart said.
“I encourage all community members to share feedback through the appropriate channels, however, I do ask that people remain respectful in their submissions to Council and in public discussions about this polarising matter, particularly on social media.”
The revised draft Plan:
- has removed the proposal for seasonal and/or timed beach access restrictions,
- proposes 13 more off leash areas at Bensville, Canton Beach, Davistown, Gwandalan, Killarney Vale, Mannering Park, Ourimbah, Point Clare, Wamberal, Watanobbi, Woongarrah and Yarramalong,
- recommends upgrades to most inland OLAs and all fenced OLAs (FOLAs), including proposed drainage improvements and redesign of the Tuggerah FOLA, as well as accessibility enhancements and landscape and sensory elements at Buff Point, Ettalong, Gorokan, Lake Munmorah, Narara and Tuggerah FOLAs,
- proposes an expansion of the environmental protection area at Illoura Reserve, Davistown, so as to retain the existing OLA rather than decommission it, and provide an additional OLA at Memorial Park,
- proposes the decommissioning of the Terrigal Haven OLA and conversion to an on leash area with an alternate OLA proposed at Wiles Ave, Wamberal. Note: a potential FOLA at Terrigal Haven will also be explored during the consultation period to seek community input on potentially retaining the ability to have dogs off leash while addressing safety and conflict of use issues (by fencing an area for dogs off leash at The Haven),
- defines effective control and expectations of dog owners in public spaces,
- provides an increase in leash length limitations,
- proposes improved education initiatives for dogs in open spaces,
- proposes a review of resourcing of Ranger Services, and
- proposes improved signage and off leash mapping for Council’s website.
There are currently no changes to the management of Council’s open space network. Changes proposed in the revised draft Plan would not come into effect until a final Plan is adopted by Council and an implementation schedule is developed.
For more information on the revised draft Dogs in Open Space Action Plan and to have your say, visit yourvoiceourcoast.com/dogs
Public exhibition closes Sunday 1 October 2023.