Wellington City Councillors approved changes to the Dog Policy at today's Council meeting. The four new off-leash exercise areas are Chelmswood Reserve in Ngaio, Vice Regal North and Alexandra Road West on the Town Belt in Newtown and Worser Bay beach (before 9.00am and after 7.00pm in summer and at all times in winter).
The extensions to the current dog exercise areas include Trelissick Park, Dorrie Leslie Park and Meekswood Reserve. The changes make a total of eight beach areas and 51 designated dog exercise areas in Wellington city. At Waitangi Park, dog owners can take their dogs on-leash around the outside, but dogs will be prohibited from the open grass area.
Mayor Kerry Prendergast says: "We appreciate this change will upset dog owners who enjoy walking their dogs on the park but we need to balance the needs of all park users."
Another change to the policy is that dog owners can now walk their dogs on a leash through the central business district to the waterfront and other parts of the city, but they are not allowed to stop with their dog in the central business district.
Mayor Prendergast says dog owners will be able to continue to walk their dogs in Karori Cemetery - but only on a leash.
"We considered opening up part of the cemetery to dogs off a leash but found that the legal status of the cemetery actually prohibited dogs from being there at all. However, to permit dogs in the cemetery the Council made a bylaw last week that will allow owners to do what they currently do, which is to walk through the cemetery with their dogs on a leash.
"In adopting the changes to the dog policy we have tried to be responsive to submitters while creating a balance with the rights of all residents. Dogs are important members of many families but we also need to set standards in line with community expectations about dog behaviour and care."
There will be a comprehensive review of the Dog Policy in 2011, taking into account a proposed review of central government legislation. Areas likely to be covered include the level of access to the Town Belt, reserves and the central city.