Woof of approval for proposed off-leash areas

In support: Bayside Councillor Ed McDougall has proposed a off-leash dog area for Lance Studdert Reserve. Picture Chris Lane
In support: Bayside Councillor Ed McDougall has proposed a off-leash dog area for Lance Studdert Reserve. Picture Chris Lane

A proposal to introduce more dog-friendly areas around Rockdale has been welcomed by pet owners.

Bayside Councillor Ed McDougall put forward a motion at Wednesday’s council meeting to investigate the option of introducing dog-friendly areas at Lance Studdert Reserve at Kyeemagh and Lady Robinsons Beach in Monterey.

That includes the option of an off-leash dog walking area at Lance Studdert Reserve and an off-lease area at Lady Robinsons Beach, north of Solander Street. 

Cr McDougall said that an overwhelming amount of people had raised the issue during the recent local council election campaign.

"I can't count the number of Bayside residents, particularly near the foreshore, who have asked me to provide support for more dog-friendly areas over the last few months,’’ he said.

"We have more than eight kilometres of beach along Botany Bay - I believe we can afford to provide a couple of hundred metres of that for dog-owners.

"We have more and more families living in apartments now, I think this is just part of the recreational mix that Bayside Council should be supporting across the area."

The motion was supported by Councillor James Macdonald.

‘’We worked on this in the last term for quite some time and it was very disappointing at the time that we couldn’t get that through,’’ he said.

‘’We have a length of foreshore that stretches kilometres and to not be able to have one beach access for off-leash dogs is disappointing.

‘’Other councils can do it so why can’t we?’’

​The proposal will be looked at by council staff before any public consultation.

There are only a handful of off-leash areas across the area with the closest at Bona Park at Sans Souci.

It is not the first time that the off-leash areas have been looked at.

In 2014 the former Rockdale Council investigated off-leash areas at Kyeemagh, Sans Souci and Cook Park.

At Kyeemagh, it was the eastern side of General Holmes Drive, north of Kyeemagh baths while at Sans Souci, it was the beach area between St George Sailing Club and Captain Cook bridge.

At Cook Park, it was the foreshore. However, the plan didn’t go ahead.

Dog owners are hoping the latest push will succeed.

17-year-old Melissa Puckeridge regularly uses the Bona Park off-leash area with her dog Rocky and was instrumental in pushing for upgrades to the grounds.

She said any new off-leash area would be a win.

‘’These kind of plans make me excited because there really aren’t a lot of places to take your dog for a walk.’’ she said.

‘’It’s about time the council should be recognising that dogs are a big part of people's lives.’’