Glossary of Terms

    The term off-leash areas refers to all types of designated dog off leash areas including dog parks, beach off-leash areas and all other off-leash areas.

    • Dog park – fenced exclusive spaces designed for dogs and their owners with a range of support facilities.  Complete separation from other park facilities.
    • Beach dog off-leash areas – sections of beaches where dogs are permitted off-leash
    • Shared dog off-leash areas – open space area where dogs are permitted off-leash within a designated unfenced area in which other activities may occur. Some of these areas are time designated i.e. dogs are only permitted off-leash at certain times e.g. sports fields 
    • Dog on-leash areas – open space areas where dogs are permitted to be exercised on-leash
    • Dog prohibited areas – open space areas where dogs are not permitted to enter.

    Why do we need a Dogs in Open Space Strategy?

    Lake Macquarie has approximately 92,336 dogs and a population of 208,615, making dog owners a key user of our open spaces.

    With growing population, smaller living spaces and finite open space, LMCC needs to plan strategically for the future provision of open spaces for dogs to exercise.

    Council is now seeking public input to develop the strategy. The focus of this initial round of consultation is to gain an understanding of how and why dog off-leash areas are used, and what does and doesn’t work well. Feedback is welcome from dog owners and non-dog owners alike.

    What areas does the Dogs in Open Space Strategy cover?

    All open spaces owned or managed by LMCC including parks, bushland, foreshores and beaches.

    How does Council currently manage dog is open spaces?

    The Companion Animal Act 1998 legislates requirements for both dog owners and local Councils in managing the presence of dogs in public places.  Council has a legislative responsibility to provide a minimum of one off-leash area and to provide effective and responsible care and management of dogs within the LGA.

    The Dogs in Public Open Space Policy provides a very high-level direction for the provision and management of dogs in open space. 

    Where are Council's off-leash dog areas and how many are there?

    Council provides 29 dog off-leash facilities distributed across the LGA.

    Please refer to Council's off-leash website for more information about locations.

    What are dog prohibited areas and how do these currently apply to Lake Macquarie?

    Dog prohibited areas are areas were dogs are not permitted either on or off-leash.

    Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, dogs are prohibited in the following places (whether or not they are leashed or otherwise controlled):

    • 10 metres of any children’s play spaces in a public place
    • 10 metres of any food preparation or food consumption spaces.

    Under the Act, Councils also have the authority to prohibit dogs from other public spaces including:

    • Recreation spaces including sportsfields where organised games are played
    • Public bathing spaces (including beach spaces)
    • Wildlife protection spaces (such as shorebird nesting habitats on the beaches and rock platforms of the LGA)

    Lake Macquarie Council currently identifies the following areas as dog prohibited:

    • Green Point Foreshore Reserve, Valentine/Belmont


    The following Council managed beaches have signs which outline the distance at which dogs are prohibited from the patrolled area:

    1. Blacksmiths Beach
    2. Caves Beach
    3. Catherine Hill Bay
    4. Redhead Beach.

    In what open spaces are dogs allowed to be exercise on leash?

    Dogs are allowed on-leash in all open spaces that are not prohibited areas as currently defined in the Companion Animals Act, Council's Dog Policy and/or Plan of Management for specific areas. 

    Will the Strategy look at providing additional off-leash areas?

    The Strategy, informed by background research and analysis, will provide a framework for the future provision of dog off-leash areas.  

    Will the Strategy look at extending the areas which are dog prohibited?

    A review of dog prohibited areas will be undertaken in developing the strategy and form part of the community consultation process.

    How can I get involved?

    There will be three stages in the development of the strategy that will involve community consultation.

    Round One - (this current consultation) – is aimed at gathering community feedback on the provision, use and management of existing off-leash areas and suggestions on possible future off-leash areas and a review of dog prohibited areas. Take the online survey or comment on the online map on this website.

    Round Two (mid 2022) – is aimed at gathering community feedback on a draft provision framework and design guidelines for dog off-leash areas, dog parks and the proposed location of all future dog off leash areas and dog prohibited areas.

    Round Three (late 2022) – will invite the community to provide feedback on the draft Dogs in Open Space Strategy that will be placed on public exhibition. This feedback will then be considered in finalising the document prior to a Council report requesting for adoption of the strategy.

    How do I make a complaint about a dog related issue?

    We are anticipating a high volume of feedback from the community for this project. We suggest residents lodge any urgent dog related complaints/issues with our Customer Service Centre. You may do this by reporting your issue online or by calling 02 4921 0333.