Canines will have more places to run freely after Maitland City councillors approved an Off Leash Dog Exercise Area Strategy for the region.
New off-leash dog parks will be established on either side of the New England Highway at Lochinvar, at Les Circuit in Gillieston Heights, Alliance Street in East Maitland, Rathluba Lagoon and the Lorn riverbank.
Existing off-leash areas will remain at Verge Street in Telarah, Bakers Brickyard Quarry, Raworth, and the A&D Lawrence Oval in Thornton.
Council will decommission off-leash areas at Vi Denny Bowtell grounds in Telarah, Green Hills Gardens and the area beside Beryl Humble Sports Complex.
A report to councillors noted that one submission lodged during the community consultation period cited possible danger to children if dogs were allowed to roam free at Les Circuit.
Council labelled fencing a high priority for all off-leash dog areas, but conceded future budget constraints and grants would dictate when they could be erected.
Cr Philip Penfold voted against the strategy based on the Les Circuit submission.
“I just don’t think we’re ever going to be fencing things,” he said.
Another submission expressed concern that the Rathluba Lagoon off-leash area would affect a well-known bird breeding area.
But the council report noted that the off-leash area would not be near the lagoon.
Garbage bins will be included at all sites and a water source will be provided on a case-by-case basis.
Last night’s approval came after the matter was withdrawn from the February 25 meeting because the draft strategy had not been included in the agenda.