Henry Kendall reserve adopted as leash-free dog area

LAND near Henry Kendall Reserve is to become a leash-free dog area, when suitable funding is available.

At last week’s meeting Port Macquarie-Hastings Council approved an area of cleared land, on the left side of the reserve access road, to be fenced and landscaped in future.

The Laurieton reserve is one of three leash-free dog exercise areas to be established in the district after the council last week adopted its Dogs in Public Open Spaces policy.

Council has approved Companion Animals Funding for the construction of leash-free areas at The Boom Reserve (Port Macquarie), Henry Kendall Reserve (Laurieton) and Wilbur Trotter Reserve (Wauchope).

A council spokeswoman said the potential to establish three leash-free parks for dogs ignited a great deal of public interest with around 100 submissions received during the policy’s public exhibition period.

Local vet Gavin Rippon said he’s happy there is a leash free area for Laurieton.

“I will use it,” Mr Rippon said.

“It’s excellent we got one and I hope it will be used for the socialisation of dogs and as a social area for dog owners too. I think it could be used by local dog trainers for classes. I hope people organise groups to get their dogs there, especially helping out people who may not be able to drive to the reserve, so they have a social outlet too.”

The allocation of leash-free facilities is in addition to existing leash-free zones on nominated beaches.

Director of Development and Environmental Services, Matt Rogers said the response to the public exhibition period highlighted the importance of the issue to both dog owners and non dog owners.

“It was pleasing to see that so many people took the time to read the draft policy, review the maps and provide council with their thoughts on a preferred site,” Mr Rogers said.

“The need for leash free exercise facilities in addition to beaches was made clear throughout the consultation process and the sites selected were chosen based on location, cost effectiveness and accessibility.”

The council will now prioritise the delivery of each of the leash-free dog exercise areas and consider funding options as part of future operational planning. These areas will not be leash-free areas until fence construction and relevant works are completed.

Funding will come from Companion Animals funds and relevant grants, not rates.