Dog parks bone of contention

Some things just go together – such as Timaru District Council's long term plan and submissions about dog exercise parks, road sealing and rubbish.

All three were up for discussion on the first day of the submission hearings yesterday.

With 170 submissions to this year's plan, the subjects covered are broad, but the day got off to a start with what has become a hardy annual – the request for dog exercise parks.

Pat Bowen of Temuka told councillors there were inadequate dog exercise areas in Temuka, a sentiment echoed by Hilary Bedford-Harris, of Geraldine, who said dogs needed to be socialised, which could be done at a dog park.

And when it came to dog related matters there was no shortage of variations on a theme. Some owners objected to dogs not being allowed off the lead throughout Timaru's Centennial Park, and others wanted to be able to take their dogs to Caroline Bay all year round.

Councillors agreed to deal with all "dog" submissions in the same way – receiving and noting them, and informing submitters the dog bylaws would be up for review later in the year.

Urban residents would benefit from rural road maintenance and seal extension as much as locals, Pleasant Point Community Board member Neville Gould told the council when suggesting partial user-pay policies be implemented for the South Canterbury Museum, Aigantighe Art Gallery and the Timaru Library.

The community board wants the council to reconsider how the amenities are funded, suggesting implementing partial user-pays would save money that could be used in rural areas for road maintenance and seal extension.

Mr Gould said funding for the three amenities had increased between 40 and 53 per cent in recent years, while funding for seal extension had reduced and been cut completely from two budgets.

The community board's submission was not the only one calling for an element of user pays with Leeanne Peatman suggesting user-pays should apply to swimming pools and the art gallery.

John Steven didn't ask for a specific road to be sealed, but rather was looking for a commitment from council to undertake some new sealing each year even if it was only 800 to 1000 metres.

"The city and country townships have seen many improvements over recent years ... But our rural secondary roads are little changed in generations."

The Timaru Herald