The puppies of the Mid-Mountains should have their own pool.
So says Ward 2 Greens Councillor Brent Hoare who is worried the South Lawson Park plan of management and master plan - does not go far enough.
South Lawson Park - the bulk of which is the former Lawson Golf Course which closed in April 2004 - is 19.5 hectares of crown land, held in trust for recreational purposes and managed by council. There is significant interest in its use, which has been a large community dog off-leash area for years.
Cr Hoare said he is "sure the masterplan and plan of management will serve us all well by providing clarity and certainty for the future use, protection and development of the South Lawson Parklands [but] achieving this milestone marks the beginning, rather than the end of a long and complex journey".
But as a regular user of the park himself, with his dog, Cr Hoare said he feared without a proper funded water play area, the creek was too inviting for dogs and their owners.
"I've spoken with many people in the dog park who all agree a water play area within the fenced area would be such a good way of keeping dogs cool in summer, and encouraging owners to keep them out of the creek. Of course there may be challenges to designing and maintaining a water play area that won't get filthy but I'm sure an affordable solution is out there. I'd hope it could be integrated with a natural pond to provide frog habitat too, and perhaps a solar powered pump to conserve water.
"During my next term on council, I'd like to be part of a community wide campaign to refine a vision of the water play area and find the resources to implement it."
The master plan includes the Lawson Oval and BMX track and secures areas for walkers and bikers, picnic tables, as well as preserving many of the natural environmental features. Considerable community consultation has taken place over the Wilson Street site since 2018. A Blue Mountains Conservation Society and Bushcare representative spoke at the council meeting in praise of the plan which was passed unanimously.
Cr Hoare said he was excited to see the construction of the perimeter pathway but more was needed including the dogs' water play facility within the enclosed off-leash area, a nursery and "a state of the art public loo" - also currently unfunded.
The council report said the site occupies a considerable portion of the upper catchment of Lawson Creek, a significant tributary of the Bedford Creek, Erskine Creek, Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, and is culturally significant to the Gundungurra people, who have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement over the site and hope to co-manage it.