DOGS will be banned from a section of Redhead Beach as Lake Macquarie council aims to strike a "better balance" between beachgoers and pooch parents.
From today, signage will be installed outlining new rules prohibiting furry friends between First and Second Creek, a stretch of beach that was previously an on-lead area.
Lake Macquarie council community assets section manager Rob Morris said he knows it's a significant change for dog owners, many of whom love taking their four-legged friends to the beach.
"However, it's important to note that the stretch of beach south of Second Creek remains one of the region's largest off-lead areas for dogs," he said.
"These changes will help increase enjoyment for all beach users and provide a clearer guideline for where dogs can and can't go."
Mr Morris said council rangers will patrol the beach regularly in the coming weeks to familiarise visitors with the new zones.
"We will be taking an informative approach for the first six weeks as people adjust to the change," he said.
"Rangers will be on-site during this time to ensure people are aware of the changes and understand future implications if they don't comply with the new arrangements.
"After that, we will issue warnings for a further period before considering fines where appropriate."
The off-leash area south of Second Creek will remain as is.
New signs will be installed at Redhead Beach, Webb Park and other access points using a clear colour coded system to show where dogs are allowed.
Dog owners will be able to walk their dog on-lead to one of the three main access paths from Webb Park, Cain St car park or Can St Reserve.
The changes are the result of the council's Dogs in Open Spaces Strategy, which was approved earlier this year.
Mr Morris said feedback received during two rounds of community consultation, as well as from lifeguards and other stakeholders led the council to the decision.
"Many dog owners weren't always keeping their dogs on-lead between First and Second Creek, and the northern movement of First Creek meant there was sometimes a relatively small stretch of Redhead Beach available for people who didn't want to interact with dogs," he said.
The strategy identified 10 new off-leash areas to be delivered throughout the city over the next 10 years.
High priority spots include Edgeworth, the Myuna Bay foreshore and the Nords Wharf Oval.
Similar signs to those at Redhead which use red for prohibited areas, amber for on-lead and green for off-lead are set to be rolled out to other off-leash areas across Lake Macquarie.
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