Dog owners fear for the future of Meola Park

Sean Stapleton     25/05/2017     Meola Dog Park

By Sean Stapleton

Meloa Dog Park users are worried over the impact of Auckland Council planning developments on the park’s off leash status.

Dog owner and Westemere resident Leela Anderson expressed her fears for the park, saying that she thought the park could face re-purposing under council planning initiatives.

“It’ll either be taken away from us, or made into a ritzy playground, and as soon as you have playgrounds you can’t have dogs, because of children.”

Meola Dog Park was named by Stuff as Auckland’s best off leash dog park in 2016, and attracts dog walkers from all across the city.

Mt Roskill resident and dog owner Justine Brown said, “ I wouldn’t be coming here unless I had a dog, it wouldn’t make sense.” She was firm in saying that the park had no need for change.

Auckland Council designated the completion of development plans for Meola park as a prority in their 2017/2018 budget. The Waitematā Local Board has held several public consultation sessions on the matter since March.

Chair of the Waitematā Local Board, Pippa Coom was approached for comment on the issue, but failed to respond.

“You have to be really careful and know your dog laws going anywhere,” said Pt Chevalier resident and dog owner Nicole Russell. “Dogs need that off leash experience,” she said, in response to questions about park developments.

In 2015 there was a widescale review of dog rules by the Local Board, that resulted in the prohibition of dogs from certain local areas and restrictions on leash rules in the interests of conservation of local wild life. Meola Park was subject to a number of these changes which now restrict access for dogs outside of the off leash zone.

Anderson said that after Forest and Bird’s involvement in the application of restrictions, she fears that open submisssions may result in “over-conservative measures being applied”.

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The March of the Hopeful

Sean Stapleton     04/05/2017     Hope Walk

 

By Sean Stapleton

Hope is afoot as New Zealanders are marching across the country in a movement to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.

The charity, HopeWalk, just held a march in association with Voices of Hope in the Auckland Domain on the 29th of April, with over 600 attendees turning out to walk.

The march covered five kilometers and 79 meters as they looped through the domain, as a symbol of the 579 lives lost to suicide in the last coroner’s report.

HopeWalk is a charitable trust, dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention events. They held their first event in February of 2016, in the form of a march from Manakau to Papakura.

Prior to starting the march, organiser Joseph Fa’afiu, addressed the crowd.

“How many of us here today have lost a someone in our lives to suicide?”

In a silent display, hundreds lifted their hands to indicate they had lost loved ones.

Following the march, founders of Voices of Hope, Jazz Thornton and Genevieve More, spoke reinforcing the message of the event. The pair went on to share with the crowd details from their own journey with mental health.

“Without sharing, change can’t be made,” said More. Pressing that to fight the stigma of depression, New Zealanders need be more open about their mental health.

HopeWalk was established by Fa’afiu, after he lost a close friend to suicide in 2010. The organisation runs marches all across New Zealand from Invercargill to Auckland.

 

If this article brought up any issues for you call

Life line 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757

 

HopeWalk can be found at http://www.hopewalk.nz 

Voices of hope can be found at http://www.thevoicesofhope.org