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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