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The Groynes dog park: Freedom and Fun

22 November 2007

The new dog park at The Groynes offers an unprecedented level of freedom for dogs in Christchurch.

Eight fenced-in areas, about 15 times larger than the old park, can offer all the delights of training, bush tramping and swimming for dogs, and all of it off-leash.

The Christchurch City Council, working with the Shirley/Papanui Community Board, has developed the park over the past two years, with stage one of the development opening in March.

The Groynes Dog Park stage two will officially open from the end of this month.

But dogs and dog owners are already having a great time with the stage two facilities at Johns Road.

Fadi Alseenawi, of Bishopdale, makes the 10 minute trip to the park almost every day to exercise his huskies, Simba and Storm.

“This is very good,” says Mr Alseenawi as he rollicked with an evidently happy Simba in the river. Later he put the more demure Storm through her paces in the agility park.

“We try to do something different everyday,” says Mr Alseenawi, adding that the range of activities kept the dogs occupied and panting for more.

The choices are many: two agility parks (one for small dogs and the other for larger dogs), a river park, a water park, an exercise park, a cross-country park and a picnic area.

Ranger Arthur Adcock says up to 500 dogs per day are using the new facilities with apparent satisfaction.

“We have developed four gravel beaches along the river that are awesome and the large cross-country patch is definitely a hit with larger dogs,” says Ranger Adcock.

An innovative idea is the planned dog memorial park where owners can buy a plot for the ashes of their cremated pets.

A $50 fee will see a native tree planted on the plot and tended by the Council for two years.

“A dog is like family and the memorial park will allow those who are renting or those who prefer not to have pets buried on their property a chance to have a memorial to their pet,” says Ranger Adcock.

Also in the mix is a walking track along the Otukaikino River for dogs on leads.

“This allows for people to enjoy themselves without the unease associated with having overly active dogs crossing their paths,” says Ranger Adcock.

“It’s brilliant,” says Mark Vincent, Team Leader of the Animal Control, Inspections and Enforcement Unit, of the new park.

The Unit was instrumental in funding the picnic tables, seating facilities and other facilities for the dog park. Other amenities come courtesy of the Shirley/Papanui Community Board, which had originated the idea of Christchurch’s first dog park in 1990.

Mr Vincent says that the implementation and development of The Groynes Dog Park is an another demonstration of the Council staff working together to achieve the best outcome for the city’s residents.

“Animal control staff have a vision to provide the best recreational facilities for both dogs and their owners, and as the team leader, my drive is to ensure that the community is safe from dogs, that dogs are well provided for and that we offer the best facilities that stimulate both dogs and owners in these areas,” he says.

The general exercise of a dog is critical for its well being and prevents behaviour problems like barking, chasing and wandering, he added.

“Most dogs at the park are not aggressive because they are not in their own territory and those dogs who have been brought up socially are going to enjoy these facilities the most,” says Ranger Adcock.

A lot of thought went into designing the park: fenced-off areas for dogs of different temperaments and sizes, access to cleaning facilities and keeping apart dogs on leads and free-running dogs.

“It is rather an exceptional level of freedom that dogs have here but with the right attitude, everyone can enjoy the facilities,” says Ranger Adcock.


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