A dog-friendlier Wellington

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The majority of dogs, dog-owners and dog-lovers are responsible central city residents. Many cities around New Zealand recognise this, with shared and accommodating local beach and park usage throughout the year. Regressively, Wellington central does not.
 
From the 1 Nov – 30 Apr, dogs are restricted any access from central city beaches exclusively. Making this a ban for not only dog’s, but their owners too. There is no degree of accommodation, despite these spaces often being empty primarily at dusk and dawn exercise times, and in other less than sunny, often windy weather conditions.
 
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Dogs of all shapes and sizes have long been central city dwellers. Wellington is no exception. Despite this, over-zealous locals leave (and return to) the comfort of their own homes to rudely approach those unfamiliar with the law – even when they have no intent on using beaches at this time. This arrangement is not a true reflection of Wellington and its contemporary attitudes.
 
This petition explores and seeks support for a revision and relaxation of the dog rules applicable specifically to Oriental Bay Beach, Waitangi Park and the Wellington Waterfront. This is with a recommendation to update the by-laws, to more honestly reflect the mix of residents themselves, and align with other modern city living arrangements. In this petition we:

(1) Outline the current by-laws
(2) Review how other NZ metro beaches govern shared use
(3) Recommend options to relax the existing arrangement


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(1) CURRENT RULES & ACCESS ~

·  From 1st Nov - 30 April, no dogs allowed (at all) on Oriental Bay.
·  Dogs (& owners) access to beach off the lead from 1st May - 31 Oct.
·  All public places, dogs on lead (at all times) unless designated dog exercise area (incl. Waitangi Park).

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(2) HOW OTHER NZ METRO BEACHES GOVERN SHARED USE ~

·  Kohimarama, Auckland: On-leash 7pm - 10am
·  Cheltenham, Devonport: Off-lease, 6.30pm - 10am
·  Sumner, Christchurch: Off-leash, 7pm - 9am
·  New Brighton, Christchurch: Off-leash, 7pm - 9am
·  Hagley River & South Hagley Park, Christchurch: On-leash on foot-paths & under effective control.

For more information, visit a detailed comparison here

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3. RECOMMENDATIONS TO RELAX BEACH + PARK ACCESS. 


This petition proposes the following changes, options and what to retain when considering how Wellington might relax dog beach and park access; 

PRIORITIES;

(A) Dogs and owners have access before 8/9am, and after 6/7pm
- Primarily to accommodate high walking times of local owners.
- These are times of little or no use by summer beach dwellers.

(B) Dogs ability to roam under effective control with their owners during these times.
- Including beach, waterfront, Waitangi Park and local walking trails.

OPTIONS;

(A) Dogs allowed on beach at any time if there are less then 0 - 10 people present
- Any day less than suitable for sunbathing, the beaches are often empty, why don’t we make this a responsible choice for dog owners?

(B) A designated (well designed) dog exercise/ socialising space edging Waitangi Park to complement the boarding innovative Playground and grassed area.

(C) Beach section to east of old band rotunda (245a Oriental Parade) is accessible for dogs at all times. as this is a part of the beach underutilised by bathers.

(D) At the very least access after 6/7pm before the overnight tide.


NO CHANGE (RETAIN EXISTING ARRANGEMENT);

(A) Owners must clean up after their dogs and be under effective control.

(B) Freyberg children’s play area and beach remain off-limits for dogs.

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IN SUMMARY.

By restricting dogs, these by-laws in their current form inadvertently restrict dog-owning residents. The ability to socialise dogs brings a community together – as opposed to ostracising responsible local dog-owners, who are frequently without cars due to central living.
 
During summer months, beach access for dogs is proposed to be complementary to people use of central city beaches and parks. Creating small windows of optimal time to exercise dogs will provide the ability for dogs to exert energy that will in turn improve the overall quality of life for the central Wellington dog-owning community. Through a small accommodation of access, we’ll have a more balanced, happy, healthy, holistic community.

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SHARE YOUR SUPPORT.

Thank you for your support. To bring a focus to the numerous times the beaches and parks lay empty, we encourage you to take photos of these spaces and share them via social media @empty_beaches
 
To actively show your support, and strengthen a collective case to change beach access over summer, please either @ the instagram account, and we will repost it, and hashtag with (at least):
 
#DogFriendlierWelly2019
 
Additionally, you can include this family of hashtags to strengthen the conversation:
 
#EmptyBeaches
#EmptyParks
#WDART
#WellyDogsAreResidentsToo
#DART
#DogsAreResidentsToo
#ShareWellyBeaches
#WeAreAllWellingtonians
#ModernCityLiving
#ReviewWellyCentralByLaws
#EmptyBeaches2400_Day-Month 

For example; 5.35pm, on February 2nd would be:
#EmptyBeaches1735_020219
#EmptyParks1735_020219                    

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SOURCES.

All information sourced online from November 2018 – January 2019:
 
aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/parks-recreation/Pages/default.aspx

ccc.govt.nz/services/dogs-and-animals/dogs-in-parks/dogs-and-beaches/

ccc.govt.nz/parks-and-gardens/explore-parks/hagley-park-and-gardens/walking-tracks/hagley-park-walks/hagley-river-walk/

wellington.govt.nz/recreation/enjoy-the-outdoors/parks-and-reserves/suburban-and-city-reserves/waitangi-park

wellington.govt.nz/services/consents-and-licences/dogs/policies-and-bylaws

vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/dog-off-leash-areas.aspx

 
Additionally, further consultation with multiple local dog owners over past two-years.
 

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FURTHER THOUGHTS. 

Other suggestions, comments and opinions welcome.

Either comment below, visit, follow and share your empty park and beaches shots on the with instagram.com/empty_beaches or email us on: changeminds6011@gmail.com