Raymond Terrace will have its first fully fenced, off-lead dog park within the next 12 months.
At last Tuesday night's council meeting, Port Stephens councillors approved the $40,000 dog exercise area to be established in Boomerang Park, adjacent to the child care centre.
The idea was first proposed by west ward councillor Giacomo Arnott last August, who this week thanked his fellow councillors for their support.
"This will be a first for Raymond Terrace and has plenty of community support," he said. "It is expected that the design and construction of the park will be completed in the first half of next year."
The funding, sourced from the council's 2020 projects, will pay for the construction of fencing, the installation of signage, and provide water and waste bins.
"Should the budget permit, there is also an opportunity to provide seating and landscape features," Port Stephens Council stated.
Longtime resident and dog owner James Blanch said that the facility would be a great asset for the Raymond Terrace community.
"The benefits are twofold," he said. "The dogs will get the chance to exercise and socialise with other dogs, whilst also giving dog owners the opportunity to connect and associate."
Fellow Raymond Terrace resident Peter Francis, a lifelong dog owner, said that the social interaction of dogs was an important ingredient in their development.
"A fenced area would also put owners' minds at ease in regard to safety when exercising their pooches," he said.
The Elizabeth Avenue site in Boomerang Park was identified as the most suitable location to establish the fenced area, the council report stated.
"Other public reserves to be considered included King Park regional sportsground, Alton Park, Roslyn Park, Anderson Oval, Lakeside district sportsground and Lakeside Reserve. However, these were considered unsuitable due to a number of constraints including access, environmentally sensitive areas and conflicting land uses," the report stated.
"Boomerang Park is a large recreation reserve providing for a variety of uses including dog training, community services, informal recreation, sport team training and environmental amenity."
The council also resolved to retain the existing off-lead dog areas in Boomerang Park on the former soccer fields.
"This will allow dog users to have a choice as to where they exercise their dog safely in Boomerang Park."
There is also fenced dog exercise areas in Lancaster Park, Soldiers Point, Fingal Bay Foreshore and Coachwood Drive Reserve, Medowie.