Draft Off Leash Dog Exercise Area Plan

Submissions closed on 8 August 2021, 5:00PM

Image of dog running on grass

The draft Off Leash Dog Exercise Area Plan aims to ensure dogs can play, exercise and socialise with their owners in a safe and accessible way.

The draft Plan will provide a structured and strategic approach to planning and managing Council’s off leash areas.

Key actions from the plan include:

  • Fencing at a number of existing and proposed off leash dog exercise areas
  • Develop design specifications for infrastructure such as fencing, seating, water fountains, bins, turf etc 
  • Review, update and install new signage at key points of entry
  • Establish 5 new off leash dog exercise areas:
    1. Bellbird North Development Area, Bellbird
    2. Bridges Hill, Cessnock
    3. Chinaman's Hollow, Weston
    4. Cliftleigh Meadows, Cliftleigh
    5. Ellalong Park, Ellalong
  • Retain the following off leash dog exercise areas:
    1. Hall Park, Cessnock
    2. Manning Park (southern end), Cessnock
    3. Colliery Street, Stanford Merthyr
    4. Miller Park, East Branxton
    5. Greta Central Oval, Greta
  • Decommission Varty Park, Weston as an off leash dog exercise area

More information

The following considerations were made in developing the draft Plan

  • existing off leash dog exercise areas and supporting infrastructure
  • gaps in the provision of off leash dog exercise areas 
  • expected population growth
  • balancing the needs of dog owners with the needs of the community

We received 177 survey responses as part of the initial consultation in September 2020. We heard the need to consider animal safety, fenced areas and more convenient locations.

Submissions are NOT kept confidential. Council releases submissions when a request is made in accordance with Privacy Laws and the relevant provisions under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009. When a submission is released by law, Council routinely withholds contact numbers, email addresses and signatures. Should you wish for all personal details or any information that may identify you to be withheld from the public, please advise Council of this in your submission.

Under the Companion Animals Act 1998 all Local Councils have a responsibility to manage dog exercise in their areas. The Act provides the following direct and indirect legislative obligations on Cessnock City Council:

  • There must be at least one public place in the area of the local authority that is an off leash area;
  • It is the duty of a local authority for a place that is commonly used for exercising dogs (including an off leash area) to provide sufficient rubbish receptacles for the proper disposal of the faeces of dogs that defecate in the place;
  • Dogs are prohibited within 10m of playground equipment;
  • Dog are prohibited within 10m of food preparation and eating areas such as BBQ’s and picnic tables.

Council currently has 6 off leash areas at the following locations:

  • Greta Central Park Leash Free Area, Greta
  • Hall Park Leash Free Area, Cessnock
  • Manning Park Leash Free Area, Cessnock
  • Miller Park Leash Free Area, Branxton
  • Stanford Merthyr Park Leash Free Area, Stanford Merthyr
  • Varty Park Leash Free Area, Weston

Have your say

Help us understand how we can improve the way we manage off leash dog exercise areas by taking the survey. The information you provide will be used to develop a draft Strategy, which will be placed on public exhibition before being finalised and adopted.