Exclusion zones for Caroline Bay
Dogs are to be excluded from parts of Caroline Bay in a bid to protect little blue penguins.
The Timaru Penguin Group has canvassed the community about exclusion zones on the Bay and was in the Timaru District Council chambers on Tuesday to hear councillors unanimously vote for change.
Councillors voted to accept the 15-page dog control policy and 2018 consolidated bylaw.
Exclusion zones at the northern and southern ends of Caroline Bay, aimed at enhancing protection of the colony of little blue penguins on the beach, were given the green light.
The exclusion zones, along Marine Parade, at the southern end, and the Benvenue Cliffs, at the northern end of the bay, will be marked out by signage educating beach users about their responsibilities.
They would operate from April 1 to September 30, the period when dogs are allowed on the Bay.
Timaru Penguin Group members Kimberley Collins and Peter Bennett addressed the meeting.
Collins said 1722 people had signed a petition to protect the penguins.
‘‘We see the penguins as a hugely valuable asset to Timaru, so close to the port and city, and also for tourism benefits and economic benefits,’’ Collins said.
‘‘Having the penguins is an opportunity to diversify our economy as not many other cities have that opportunity and we thank the council for listening to us.
‘‘We think this is a win for penguins, tourism and families, and it’s a win for Timaru’s future.’’
Timaru District Mayor Damon Odey said he was impressed with the effort the group had made in being organised and providing relevant information.
‘‘I thank you for being brave enough to stand up,’’ he said.
Councillor Kerry Stevens said he was happy to adopt the policy and bylaw.
Councillor Dave Jack seconded the motion.
‘‘I think there has been a lot of effort and we have a document we can work with now,’’ Jack said.
The other proposed change contained in the policy councillors adopted affects the conditions under which dogs can be present on Stafford St.
Previously prohibited, except if being taken to a vet, or their owners lived on the street, the new policy proposed dogs also be permitted on premises where food is prepared and sold, provided the businesses in question have managed this risk in their Food Control Plans
Dogs will continue to be prohibited at Aorangi Park, the Otipua Wetlands and the Claremont Bush Reserve.
District-wide, dogs, with the exception of working dogs, will continue to be banned from schools, kindergartens, playcentres and all playgrounds.
Stafford St appears to be the only shopping area region-wide where dogs are banned.
They are allowed on leashes in shopping precincts in the Mackenzie, Waimate, Pleasant Point, Temuka and Geraldine.