'Contentieuze' hondenbeoordeling om zes weken overleg te krijgen – twee meer dan nodigjuli 10, 2020
Blenheim residents are getting behind a bylaw review proposing dogs make a permanent return to the town centre.
The Marlborough District Council is looking at its dog control bylaw for the first time in a decade, with a “very early draft” recommending the four-legged friends be allowed back into Blenheim’s central business district.
For Blenheim resident Fay Uddstrom and her pooch Katin, the change would mean being able to try out cafes other than their regular rest stop, Blenheim’s dog-friendly Raupo.
“Dogs can be intimidating for those that are scared. As long as they’re behaved and under control, I have no problem.”
Rescue dog Annie would voice her support of the proposed changes if she could, said Blenheim resident Chris Stacey.
“It would be a good way for dogs to socialise,” she said.
“You’re always going to have people who don’t feel comfortable having dogs around, but it’s up to their owners to make the appropriate adaptions for that.”
Christchurch resident Barry Williamson, who was visiting his daughter in town, thought allowing dogs in town would encourage more people to visit and shop at businesses.
“I have a dog in Christchurch, and I walk it in a park near the city, then go to a bar or a cafe, where a lot provide water bowls. I’m for dogs in town, and my daughter would be too.”
Dogs were banned from the Blenheim CBD in 2012, after a 2010 bylaw review. They were allowed in town last October as a trial to see if the ban should be lifted. The trial coincided with the 65th Black Hawk National Dog Show.
No formal complaints were laid during the trial.
Dog owner and The Little Cafe On Charles co-owner Sharon Evans said she would love to see dogs back in Blenheim.
The cafe had lapped up last year’s trial, providing water bowls to dogs seated with their owners in an outdoor area.
But she thought dogs should be on leads and owners who did not bin their dog’s waste should be fined.
“People who don’t look after their dogs can ruin it,” she said.
Brumby’s Blenheim owner Sharon Boswell said she was “quite in favour” of dogs in town, so long as they were on leads and well-behaved. Boswell, a dog “grandparent”, said a water bowl was put outside the business for dogs during the trial.
“Not a lot of people took it up, but it was good to have.”
Council animal control contract manager Jane Robertson said staff would comb through the draft bylaw at a workshop later this month, before referring it to the council’s environment committee in August for approval.
After being signed off at full council, the new draft bylaw would go out for public consultation, set to run for six weeks from September 18 – two weeks more than required.
“I think, as this is a contentious issue, more time is needed.”
Feedback would be publicised on the council’s website as it was submitted, so residents could see what others thought.
Robertson had set aside three days to hear submitters later this year, after almost 400 submitted on the review in 2010.
There were 10,500 dogs in Marlborough as of this month.
Robertson said she intended to mail a letter to each of the region’s 7000 dog owners, informing them of the proposed changes, but councillor and animal sub-committee chair Jamie Arbuckle suggested a letter go to all residents.
“You don’t have to be a dog owner to make a submission [on the bylaw], so why should you have to be a dog owner to receive a letter,” he said at a committee meeting on Friday.
The draft bylaw would be made available at council offices and libraries in Picton and Blenheim, and on its website.
The council would request the Blenheim Business Association, who had long championed for dogs in Blenheim’s town centre, to run a survey with their members.