Power to pen­guin pro­tec­tors

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - RACHAEL COMER

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.

PHOTO: DOUG FIELD/STUFF

Peter Ben­nett, Mar­garet McPher­son, Fraser Ross and Kim­ber­ley Collins cel­e­brate the coun­cil de­ci­sion to keep dogs off Caro­line Bay dur­ing sum­mer.

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