In defence of dogs
We live at the north end of Snells Beach. About nine years ago we had our little Shih Tzu, Bella, join our household. Ever since, part of our daily routine is for my wife to take her for a walk in the mornings, which includes the walkway along the beach frontage, and me to do the same in the late afternoon. At these times, Bella was off-leash enjoying the grassed area adjacent to the walkway and always under control. This practice also included several other local dogs. All of which had no interest in going on to the beach or pursuing the birdlife. A couple of years ago the bird people arrived at the beach. In their enthusiasm they approached Council and it appears were successful in having unleashed dogs banned from a large part of my end of the beach for a large part of the year in order to protect the godwits and dotterels and other birds that may tend to roost down on the tide mark. Now, I suppose that is okay, but now it seems to be that a group of people have taken it upon themselves to surreptitiously take photos of any off-leash dog in the banned area and send them off to Council, resulting in a $300 fine for the owner. Now, none of these dogs, as far as I am aware, have been anywhere near the birds or ever had any interest in them. To this group of people I say, as our Prime Minister says, “Be kind and back off a bit.” Yes, strictly speaking we are breaking the bylaw, but please only ring the dog control when you see a dog marauding the bird life, and then if it is any one of our dogs we will willingly part with the $300. Talking to the dog ranger just recently, she said that they are regularly getting calls from the same group of people to which they have to respond – all the way from their Birkenhead base (good for global warming). I would like to inform the public that although we are dog owners, we do take an interest in the welfare of the birds and have had some interesting and informative conversations with some who have far more ornithological knowledge than us while our unleashed dogs were at our feet. It would be nice to get back to the friendly place that Snells Beach once was and give a friendly reminder to any visitors that may be disturbing the birds.
Stan Armiger, Snells Beach
Respect the rules
The sensibility and reason for dog rules at Snells Beach – i.e. a ban from Sunburst boat ramp and reserves to the headland – is because godwits have flown non-stop to our beach from Alaska, have lost half their body weight and need to rest and rebuild for their return journey. They have come every year to Snells Beach from prior to man’s habitation here. Endangered birds such as dotterels and fairy terns do nest here, thus Auckland Council’s biodiversity team is doing all it can to protect them in just over a quarter of the beach and reserves for which so many are grateful. It’s wonderful to see the support of Bayside Bistro and Boathouse Bay residents for status quo. Current dog rules give protection to the vulnerable and elderly also who wish to exercise and recreate without dogs jumping on them and in some cases being bitten and rushed at, as has been the case. There are many who are grateful to Cr Sayers, Auckland Council and the Rodney Local Board for these important rules. Goodall Reserve dog park area is off-leash for dogs as well as Te Whau Esplanade. Birds and the vulnerable are entitled to their space, too. We give thanks to the Animal Management Team in Auckland Council who are endorsing these important rules.
Roger Turner, Snells Beach (abridged)
I’m a bit worried about the latest news in Mahurangi Matters (MM Sept27) about the changes to our rubbish collection service. I have had a very good rubbish collection by Northland Waste for years. It would seem the council Waste Solutions has a solution to take over. The trick is in the words ‘free’ and ‘rates paid for’. I use a bin, not a bag, and I also have a huge council-provided bin that could go out fortnightly, but it goes out every four to six weeks. I really like not creating too much recyclable waste and try to keep my favourite dog walking beach plastic-free as an appreciation for our lovely environment. I’m not happy about having a very good service just taken away with no choice but to pay though our rates. Once, years ago in a peak busy time, my bin was missed. A phone call was all it took and the bin was emptied. I don’t want my rates used against Northland Waste. Hopefully, the interest in Rodney is not some sort of a marker in the way they are thinking about dumping in the Dome Valley. Are we just a pawn in a council chess game? Rubbish bags are easy to get in shops, whereas no one is going to order a council bin for a short stay in the area, so expect more illegal dumps if this plan by Council goes ahead.
Mary Daynes, Snells Beach