Dog park opponents voice concerns

The Howick Local Board wants to build an enclosed dog park at Macleans Park in Bucklands Beach. Times photo Wayne Martin

A proposal to create east Auckland’s first enclosed dog park is not receiving universal support.

The Howick Local Board initiative would see the area’s first fenced-off, off-leash space for canines established at Macleans Park in Bucklands Beach.

People had until July 25 to submit their views to Auckland Council on the proposal.

Board chairperson Adele White previously told the Times the initiative began seven years ago when a dog trainer suggested the board consider creating a dog park in the Howick ward.

She says boards since then have been keen to pursue it and hers is continuing the consultation on the choice of sites.

Creating a fenced-off dog park at Macleans Park will not take away the existing off-leash area popular with local dog owners, she says.

The board is contemplating establishing a fenced-off dog park in each of the ward’s three subdivisions.

White says the first one, in Macleans Park, will not obstruct views of the area.
Two locations at the park have been put forward as options.

The first is directly opposite Charles Dickens Drive, while the second is accessed from Macleans Road and is adjacent to Macleans College.

The Times has received letters and emails from members of the public opposed to the initiative.

One opponent shared her view directly with the board at its business meeting on July 19.

Local resident Charmaine Borland told its members she’s been walking dogs at the park for more than 30 years.

“All dog owners and their pets enjoy this wonderful park to socialise and exercise together.

“I’m not opposed to the concept of the off-leash controlled park at Macleans, but this isn’t the area for it.

“We the doggie community have been speaking to each other over the past two weeks and are in total wonder as to why this park seems to be being pushed by the board without any open consultation.”

Borland said Lloyd Elsmore Park is the “perfect location” to establish a dog-walking space and it would be central to Howick, Pakuranga, and Botany.

Macleans Park is in “desperate need” of maintenance and has overgrown greenery, gorse, and blocked paths and drains, she said.

“Have a budget to carry out some regular maintenance and checks in the park.

“I’ve seen this park in all sorts of states over 30 years, and all you need to do is some regular maintenance and you wouldn’t actually get to the problem it is today.”

Borland said the board’s members were elected to be the “voices of the people” and “we sadly think in this case it may not be happening”.

“We’re out there walking every day, twice a day, sun, rain or hail with our dogs.

“We love our park and we cannot see any justification in this proposal.

“We’d like clarification from the board as to why they want to push ahead with this.”

Council officers will meet with the board at the end of August to discuss public feedback and consider the next steps.

The board will then make a final decision on the location of the dog park at its business meeting in September.