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South Wairarapa’s dog pound on ruff ground

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South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] may have finally found a home for a new dog pound in Featherston, but there are concerns the site may only be useable for a couple of years.

The proposed site was situated on the Featherston Golf Course. However, funding for the land came out of the council’s Three Waters budget.

SWDC had previously purchased the site as a potential location for a waste treatment plant, but the land had since been deemed unsuitable for wastewater.

Councillor Colin Olds expressed concerns that, as a result, the pound might need to be moved when the Three Waters Reform came into effect in 2024, despite the change in land use.

“Given what’s on the horizon, how much do we have for the longevity of this land?” he said in a council meeting on Thursday.

“It may well be by 2024 we have to move off the site as it is given up in Three Water Reforms.”

The land was also shared with another stakeholder who owned a grazing lease. However, this lease would expire in the next four to five months.

There were no other proposed sites for the dog pound.

Olds also asked about the justification of the pound, with recent data suggesting a dog pound in the area would not be fully utilised.

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Only two dogs had been impounded so far this year.

However, it was believed that impacts from covid-19 had resulted in fewer stray dogs, and, although there could not be absolute certainty things would change, it was believed the gradual return to normal life would mean an increase in inbound dogs.

A new pound would also prepare the community for the future, allowing for expected increases in the population of the three towns in South Wairarapa.

Regardless of concerns about inbound dog numbers, Mayor Alex Beijen argued that a pound was needed so that any stray dogs caught would have a place to go. “To be fair, we need to have the facilities,” Beijen said.

“This is a very reasonable cost.”

The pound was expected to cost $250,000 and was expected to be built in a modular manner, allowing each component to be made individually, transported to the location, and constructed on-site in a day.

Although the pound was currently within budget, recent supply chain issues and inflation costs may have had an impact. Suppliers had seen material costs rise significantly, some as much as 100 per cent.

Given council sign-off and no delays to materials, the pound could be completed within six months.

SWDC had previously proposed a shipping container design for a dog pound on Johnston St, which would have cost about $240,000.

However, the land was already leased by Earthcare, and a lease variation was not possible.

The council had also previously talked with Carterton District Council [CDC] about the possibility of a shared facility, but CDC had decided to pursue its own pound.

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