Power to penguin protectors
Endless hours of campaigning to keep dogs off Caroline Bay during summer have paid off for a group of Timaru little blue penguin protectors.
Eight residents who worked tirelessly to force the dropping of a possible change to a Timaru District Council bylaw which would mean dogs could be walked on Caroline Bay between 5am and 9am during summer attended the council’s meeting on Tuesday and said they were elated at the decision to keep the status quo.
South Canterbury Forest and Bird branch member Kimberley Collins presented a petition to keep the bylaw as it is, at the meeting.
The petition, launched on November signatures.
Collins said the day was an emotional one.
‘‘We are really, really happy,’’ she said following the meeting.
‘‘It has been hundreds of hours of work by several people. We’ve had many meetings to protect our penguins.’’
This had included a friendly protest outside the council’s office in December, when about 40 people displayed placards, some dressing in penguin suits.
Timaru Penguins co-ordinator Peter Bennett said the decision had been a win for many.
‘‘It’s a win for the penguins, residents and tourism in Timaru,’’ he said.
He said it had been encouraging to see the community get behind 21, received 1722 the cause and support the penguins at the Bay.
‘‘Many people who got behind us were dog owners.’’
Collins echoed Bennett’s comments on community support.
‘‘There was huge movement in the community over this,’’ she said.
The furore around the issue has also created more awareness, she said.
‘‘People have been talking about them and it’s upped the profile of the penguins.’’
She said it had also allowed people to get involved with local government and the environment, issues which could often be boring.
She thanked the public for its support and acknowledged the 20 people who had collected petition signatures throughout the region.
Peter Bennett, Margaret McPherson, Fraser Ross and Kimberley Collins celebrate the council decision to keep dogs off Caroline Bay during summer.