The Dogs in Public Places Strategy was adopted by Council on 3 December 2019. The final strategy can be read here.


Nearly 40 per cent of households within the City of Canada Bay own a dog. Dogs are important to our community and are considered members of our families. Walking the dog is a popular recreational activity and has benefits for both the dog and the owner. Engagement for the Local Strategic Planning Statement identified that 26 per cent of residents walk the dog as a method of informal recreation.

Dogs need an opportunity to exert energy and socialise. Off-leash dog exercise areas allow this to occur, and also allow dog owners opportunities to socialise and strengthen community connections. By providing off-leash dog exercise areas the City of Canada Bay is meeting a legislative requirement and encouraging responsible behaviour by dog owners.

The City of Canada Bay has made a commitment to be one of Sydney’s most dog friendly councils. In order to achieve this commitment there is a need to adopt a holistic strategic approach. A need for clearer signage within our parks regarding dog rules and responsible dog ownership has been identified, as well as improvements to dog information displayed on Council’s website. Information within this strategy will be promoted via these avenues.

This strategy has also been prepared to prevent confusion around which parks include off-leash dog exercise areas, and where the boundaries of the off-leash dog exercise areas are located. In clarifying the rules it allows Council greater ability to educate the public and take enforcement action if required.

How was this strategy prepared?

Prior to developing this strategy, trials of new dog off-leash exercise areas occurred within four parks in late 2018. These trials, along with over 600 submissions from community consultation, were used to identify the key issues regarding dog exercise areas in our community.

A Council project team was established to provide input into the development of this strategy. The project team reviewed the existing off-leash dog exercise areas within the City of Canada Bay and identified where new infrastructure was required. The project team have also assisted in preparing the policy statements.

Community Consultation

As outlined in the timeline on this page, significant community consultation was undertaken to understand suitability of various parks throughout the LGA for off-leash dog areas. We also worked closely with the community on trial areas to more deeply understand what amenities are needed for off-leash dog areas, as well as what size an area should be within a park. The outcomes of these consultations can be found in the document library.

After the consultation periods, a public exhibition of our draft strategy was held. Further amendments to the draft strategy were made following this public exhibition period, and it was then taken to a Council meeting for formal adoption in December 2019.

During the meeting, the strategy was adopted as per the following resolution:

THAT Council adopt the Dogs in Public Places Strategy subject to the recommended amendments in Attachment Two;

  • THAT the fenced dog off-leash exercise area at Five Dock Park is tripled in size.
  • THAT Council restricts the access of dogs in Lower Phoenix Park to a timeframe between 6am and 10pm out of respect to neighbouring properties.

Local wildlife

We are committed to promoting local wildlife, especially shorebirds, and Council has recently pledged $35,000 to develop a biodiversity program which addresses threats to shorebirds such as Bar-Tailed Godwits. This is explored within the draft strategy as well as at this page: Help Us Protect the Bar-Tailed Godwit.