Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Waipā dogs facing cultural ban

Proposed changes to Waipā District Council’s dog control policy and bylaw could see dogs prohibited from some parts of Kakepuku maunga (Mount Kakepuku) based on cultural concerns.

Council is seeking early feedback on its draft dog control policy and bylaw in response to concerns from the Te Kopua marae committee.

It says the committee has expressed concern about tracks on the Council reserve on the maunga being used as a dog exercise area.

Waipā group manager district growth and regulatory, Wayne Allan said Council may review its policy to consider whether dogs should be allowed at Kakepuku maunga.

“It’s early days and there is a formal process to go through yet. But we do recognise there are some cultural, archaeology and ecological factors, in sites of significance to tangata whenua,” he said.

“There are other areas where we may also want to put more protections in place for wildlife and a public webinar being held later this month is a chance to discuss all that.”

The proposals will form part of a wider review of Council’s dog control policy and bylaw. A public webinar on Tuesday 21 June will outline early proposals and hear public views.

As part of those discussions, Council will discuss concept plans for Lake Te Koo Utu in Cambridge, and Te Awamutu’s Memorial Park where some people have called for dogs to be prohibited. There was also a suggestion dogs be banned from sports fields on the Kihikihi Domain, Council said in a statement.

“Absolutely no decisions have been made about Lake Te Koo Utu and Memorial Park and won’t be made until we hear from the community,” Mr Allan said.

He said Council was also considering putting in new dog exercise areas in Pirongia, Bond Road in Te Awamutu, Cambridge North, and near the Te Awa cycleway extension.

“We don’t want to take dog exercise areas away without replacing them.”

“We have an obligation to work with owners to provide for the welfare of dogs so it’s a balancing act.”

Mr Allan said Council was keen to ensure people understood their responsibilities around owning dogs and were aware of how dogs are regulated.

“It is important to know what places are suitable or unsuitable for dog access, and public feedback helps establish this. We also want people to know their rights and protections regarding dogs in the community so I’m looking forward to the webinar when all those things can be discussed,” he said.

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