Change to leash-free areas at Thomas H Halton Park

Published on 14 May 2024

Scott Thompson with daughter Matilda, 7, and their border collie cross Hank at Thomas H Halton Park.jpg

Changes to off-leash areas at Croudace Bay’s Thomas H Halton Park are set to improve safety for all park users.

New signs to be installed at the park this week outline the changes, which bring one of Lake Mac’s most popular outdoor areas into line with the NSW Government’s Companion Animals Act 1998.

Under the Act, off-leash areas must be 10m from playgrounds and barbecue areas, meaning dogs being walked alongside the footpath skirting the western side of the park’s playground must now be kept on a leash.

“This change will also reduce the chances of dogs running onto or across the shared pathway in this area,” Lake Macquarie City Council Manager Asset Management Rob Morris said.

Dog owners will also need to keep their four-legged friends on a lead in the bushland track between Bareki Road and the shared path connecting the playground to the park’s bat-ball court, to protect the area’s flora and fauna.

“We understand how much the community values Thomas H Halton Park as a place to exercise and socialise their dogs,” Mr Morris said.

“That’s why most of the area previously zoned as off-leash will stay that way, but these changes will balance the needs of all park users, protect the environment and ensure we comply with the Companion Animals Act.”

“Many people in Lake Mac adore dogs but having them bounding up unrestrained to families and young children entering and exiting the playground is not everyone’s idea of a good time.”

Time restrictions already in place in the park will remain.

Mr Morris said Council would implement a four-week grace period, with rangers onsite during that time to help educate park users about the change.

Plans are also underway for two new off-leash areas to come online later this year: at Myuna Bay foreshore off Wangi Road, and on Nords Wharf Oval on Crangan Bay Road.

Mr Morris said the introduction of new off-leash areas was in line with Council’s Dogs in Open Spaces Strategy.

“We have one of the highest rates of dogs ownership in NSW here in Lake Mac, and we want to make sure we provide places right across our city for them to get outdoors with their owners,” he said.

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