Calls for off-leash dog park in Nambucca Heads

Nambucca Valley residents Liane Gourlay (left) and Trevor Hunter with Rex the dog.

THE negative impact of irresponsible pet ownership has been in the spotlight locally in recent months.

Now, pet owners, particularly those with small dogs, are calling for enclosed dog parks to be built in the Nambucca Valley.

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Nambucca Heads resident Liane Gourlay has started a petition to take to Council in an effort to persuade them to develop a purpose-built dog park in Nambucca Heads.

“The number one reason we need fenced dog parks is for the safety of both dog and owner,” Liane Gourlay told News Of The Area.

“The other key reason is that the two ‘off leash’ areas in Nambucca Heads – the beach at Swimming Creek and the Northern end of Stuart Island – are not necessarily accessible or safe for those with restricted mobility or the elderly.”

Fenced dog parks have become standard in most districts across the country, enabling pet owners to let their dogs off the leash in a secure area where both dogs and owners are able to socialise.

Research led by Adelaide University’s Dr Susan Hazel found Australia has one of the highest rates of dog ownership in the world.

However, with backyards getting smaller, it is becoming increasingly difficult to exercise dogs safely off the leash while maintaining effective control.

The research also indicates that off-leash areas enable dogs to be well socialised and exercised.

Dogs that use them are likely to be healthier, happier and less aggressive.

A trip down the coast set the wheels in motion for Liane’s petition.

“What got me started on this quest is that, during a recent visit to Harrington, I noticed a very well appointed dog park, and wondered why Harrington, with a much smaller population than Nambucca Heads, could afford a dog park but we could not,” she said.

“Tuncurry, with a similar demographic to us, has a dog park and there are also some in Coffs Harbour.

“It makes sense that we have these facilities here.”

The online petition on has so far received well over 400 signatures and includes numerous supportive comments by dog owners who say such a facility is overdue.

One local resident cited the frequency of four wheel drive vehicles on the beach near Swimming Creek as a reason that eliminated that area for many dog owners.

Liane Gourley took her quest to the streets last weekend, positioning herself at the Plaza Shopping Centre in Nambucca Heads, particularly to cater for those uncomfortable with signing an online petition.

A continuous stream of dog owners were unanimous in their support for a dog park to be developed in the area.

A number of local businesses, including the Nambucca Boatshed Cafe, Mid Coast Vets Nambucca Heads and Blue and White Vets Nambucca Heads are supporting Liane by providing customers with the ability to sign a hard copy of the petition.

“I urge those who want a dog park in the Nambucca Valley to go to and type Nambucca Heads in the search area, scroll to the petition and sign,” Liane said.

“Or, go to one of the businesses that are supporting this idea and sign the petition in person.”

Liane has applied to present the petition in person at the Nambucca Valley Council Meeting on 27 June.


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