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Green light given for new dog park

Masterton’s elected members have signed off on the establishment of a new community-funded dog park on 0.6 hectares of council land at Henley Lake.

The dog park – initiated by Masterton Rotary and Masterton South Rotary – will be developed on the land beside the Henley Mens Shed, which is currently grazed under licence.

The licensee is comfortable with an end to the lease with three-month’s notice, a council report said.

A Memorandum of Understanding [MoU] between Rotary and Masterton District Council [MDC] will come back to council for approval next month.

At last week’s council meeting, councillor Stella Lennox praised the initiative but wanted confirmation there would be minimal cost to ratepayers regarding long-term maintenance.

MDC community facilities and activities manager Corin Haines said with any community initiative there is “always the potential for something to come back at council”, but that the MoU will make responsibilities “very clear”.

“The basis of the idea is that Rotary establish the park, and that a community group is formed that takes on a bit of a kaitiaki-type [guardian] role,” he said.

A report to councillors said likely ongoing costs would relate to maintenance of fence lines and structures erected within the park such as shelters and dog agility equipment, dog waste bins, and general landscape maintenance including mowing.

“It is proposed that an MoU be developed between Rotary South Masterton, Rotary Masterton, and the council to cover both the funding of the development, ongoing costs, and the process for damage remediation and resolution of any disputes that may occur over the ongoing care of the park.”

The report also said: “There are no financial considerations as a result of this report, with the funding to come from external sources. In the event that community groups aren’t able to fund costs to maintain the park in the longer-term, council will need to consider what support it will provide”.

Subject to approval, work on development will begin immediately.

The development will comprise the following: Fencing of the entire site to a level which creates a safe space for all sizes of dogs; signage identifying the park with rules and guidance for use; a lime path around the perimeter; shelter; dog agility equipment; fresh water supply; and a dog waste bin with agreed emptying schedule.

In 2017, MDC undertook a survey of residents on several dog policy issues and the potential establishment of a dog park. The issue was also discussed at a public meeting in February 2018.

The majority of respondents to the survey did not support paying higher registration fees for additional services that are required to provide and support a dog park in the district.

The proposal to fund the development of the park by Rotary removes a major barrier to the development of a facility such as this. -NZLDR

    Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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