Dog Park opens in Mataura

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Molly the dog (above and right) enjoys chasing bubbles blown for her by Katie Mantell (left), while sister Sophie is ready to throw a Frisbee for Molly to chase in the new Henderson Park dog park. Photo: Sandy Eggleston.

There are no swings or roundabouts, but dogs have a place to play with their friends in Mataura.

The dog park at Henderson Park is almost finished and is open for people and their dogs to use.

Mataura residents Sarah Mantell and her daughters Katie (12) and Sophie (10) were at the park on Wednesday with Molly their black Labrador.

Mrs Mantell said the park was a great facility for Mataura.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Mrs Mantell said.

There were not many places in Mataura dogs could run free off the leash.

“It’s nice to have a confined area where they can run around and be themselves. I love how dogs can run around and interact with other dogs – it’s good for their socialisation. It makes them better dogs.”

Gore District Council parks and recreation manager Ian Soper said one thing that needed to be completed at Henderson Park was the installation of signage giving guidelines as to how the dog park should be used.

“Given it’s a completely new asset for the Gore district, it’s something where we need to inform the folk of – ‘what is appropriate etiquette to apply whilst in a dog park?'” Mr Soper said.

The park is one of two planned as part of the Gore District Council’s dog control action plan, which aimed to reduce dog-related danger and nuisance.

“The dog parks are a place for dogs to socialise off-lead.”

Hopefully people would take their young dogs to the parks where the dogs could learn how to socialise with other dogs.

“[The dogs] will build good social habits along with their owners… to help dogs be better behaved in society in general.”

Both dog parks would have separate spaces for large dogs and small dogs.

A small dog was defined as one 8kg and below.

“Most people have taken their dogs to the vet and have an idea of what their animal weighs.”

The parks would have seats for dog owners.

“There is a rubbish tin at the entrances and there’ll be a doggy-doo bag dispenser in each of the parks.”

The second park, at Gore’s Hamilton Park, is under way, with some fencing already up.

“There is a little more work to do with the Gore site.”

The site was a former landfill area.

“Anything recreationally-based on top is the best use of closed landfill.”

However, this brought a set of challenges.

“The primary challenge we have is with the soil surface and the soil column in terms of drainage capabilities.”

Work had been done to improve the drainage.