It’s just one dog­gone thing af­ter an­other

The Southland Times - - Opinion -

other spots on the trail and around the dis­trict where dogs are walked, be­cause as sure as day fol­lows night, for ev­ery doggy-do-dis­penser we put up, there will be calls for six more.

And here’s the rub, and there is al­ways a rub to these things, and the rub al­ways has a dollar-sign at­tached.

How much would putting dog­gydo bins around the dis­trict, stock­ing them with bags and hav­ing them reg­u­larly emp­tied cost?

I don’t have the an­swer to that, but in my time as Mayor, I have learnt to guess what such a fig­ure might be, then dou­ble it, then add a wee bit more to be safe and gen­er­ally I’ll still be a bit light. It won’t be a small amount of money.

If coun­cil was to con­sider go­ing down the path of putting bins in, staff would spend time and re­sources find­ing that cost fig­ure out, in­clud­ing get­ting quotes from con­trac­tors to sup­ply, in­stall, main­tain and empty the bins so the fig­ure would be in front of elected mem­bers be­fore a de­ci­sion as to whether to go ahead would be made.

That num­ber might be big enough that con­sul­ta­tion with the pub­lic would be re­quired.

Next ques­tion; if we go ahead and put those bins in; who pays for it? Dog own­ers through their reg­is­tra­tion? Ru­ral folk might ar­gue that only pet dog own­ers should pay but not work­ing dog own­ers be­cause work­ing dogs don’t get taken for walks gen­er­ally speak­ing.

All dog own­ers may then ar­gue that all ratepay­ers should pay just as all ratepay­ers pay for li­braries, swim­ming pools and other pub­lic ameni­ties, in­clud­ing rub­bish bins for other refuse.

And then there is a fun­da­men­tal ques­tion; does sup­ply­ing bags and bins along the trail and in other places around the dis­trict sim­ply shift re­spon­si­bil­ity from the mis­cre­ant dog owner(s) to all dog own­ers or all the pub­lic in gen­eral and if so, is that fair? Is ed­u­ca­tion a smarter move (for the owner, not the dog)?

Also, it may be that no mat­ter how many bag/bins coun­cil pro­vides, there will still be some dog own­ers who won’t use them, so what’s the point?

Self-re­spon­si­bil­ity re­ally would save a lot of prob­lems and cost.

I don’t have the an­swers, just lots of thought pro­vok­ing ques­tions, and that’s just on one topic.

If you have read this col­umn to the end and have found the ques­tions in­ter­est­ing, take the time to talk to an elected mem­ber in your area about putting your hand up for a po­si­tion.

As the say­ing goes; ‘‘I al­ways won­dered why some­body doesn’t do some­thing about that. Then I re­alised I was some­body.’’

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