Lambton residents and their four-legged companions turned out in force on Sunday to continue the push for a fenced off-leash dog area in Lambton Park.
Leading the campaign is Lambton Residents Group member Mary Webster, who organised a gathering on Sunday between Lambton Bowling Club and Lambton Pool, where she hopes a fenced dog park can be built.
Lake Macquarie City Council announced in March plans for a fenced off-leash dog park at Speers Point and Ms Webster said Newcastle needed to follow suit.
Newcastle City Council passed a motion at its April meeting to support a submission from Ms Webster but Lambton Park is crown land and council must now gain approval from the NSW Government to proceed with the project.
“There are 17 off-leash areas in the Newcastle area but not a single one is fenced,” Ms Webster said.
“I’m really delighted with the number that have turned up in support of having a fenced area in Lambton Park.
“This is an ideal place, it’s not greatly used except for a walk-through ... this would be suitable for a fenced off-leash area where the dogs would be safe and people would be safe and dogs will learn to socialise, exercise and generally be happy.”
In attendance was Newcastle councillor and dog owner Declan Clausen, who said the support shown on Sunday would help as council appealed to the state government to use the land for a dog park.
“We want to make sure there is a safe space for dogs to play and socialise,” Cr Clausen said on Sunday.
“As a dog owner I certainly see the merits in a fenced off-leash dog area but didn’t realise just how broad-reaching the support from the community is, so it was very encouraging to see so many dog owners and their dogs this morning to move this ahead.
“In April, council passed a resolution in order to further investigate the location of an off-leash dog area in this park … this is crown land, which means it’s another layer of approvals that is required before we are able to get on and deliver anything in Lambton Park.”
He said council were also investigating other possible locations with the aim to get “at least one high-quality fenced area in each ward of the city to make sure there is more opportunities for dogs and their owners”.
Cr Clausen also said “public health benefits that come for owners to be able to talk to one another as their dogs socialise in a safe area” was also a motivating factor for council in building dog parks.
He said money had been allocated in council’s budget for more dog areas in Newcastle.