Pooch prohibition overturned

Dogs will be allowed in the Blenheim town centre from August 1. File photo.

A town-centre dog ban has been overturned by council – allowing dogs into the Blenheim CBD legally for the first time in more than a decade.

Marlborough District Council have today announced that the ban will be lifted from 1 August.

But the decision came down to the wire, with the public evenly split on the move.

Hearing Panel chair councillor Jamie Arbuckle says the new bylaw only applies to footpaths and public areas.

Individual businesses can decide whether they wish to allow dogs on their premises.

“On balance we think that it’s time to bring dogs back on-leash into the town centre,” Jamie says.

Café Herb and Olive owner Richard Barton welcomed dogs to his town-centre cafe in 2019. File photo.
Café Herb and Olive owner Richard Barton welcomed dogs to his town-centre cafe in 2019. File photo.

“In future there will be more people living in and around central Blenheim and it is closely connected to the Taylor River Reserve, Quays and Riverside Park, where people walk their dogs already.

“We also know that the CBD trial two years ago went well and there were no reported issues,” he says.

Dogs were briefly allowed in town during the 65th annual Black Hawk National Dog Show, in 2019 which saw more than 1000 canines visiting the region.

Environment Committee Chair Mayor John Leggett says the hearing panel, made up of councillors Jamie Arbuckle, Nadine Taylor, Barbara Faulls and Thelma Sowman, have done a thorough job and had listened to the public’s concerns.

“Their recommendations seek to achieve a balance between the control of dogs and recognition of the community benefits of responsible dog ownership,” he says.

“The Hearings Panel has sought to provide opportunities for the exercise and recreational needs of dogs and their owners, whilst recognising the need to minimise danger, distress and nuisance to the community.”

Mia Yealands organised a petition against proposed rules requiring dogs to be on-leash from near Raupo to the Burleigh bridge. File photo.
Mia Yealands organised a petition against proposed rules requiring dogs to be on-leash from near Raupo to the Burleigh bridge. File photo.

Six hundred and seventy nine submissions were received by council on the proposed policy and bylaw which includes a raft of new rules.

“The original proposal to require dogs to be on-leash from the Quays near Raupo café to the Burleigh Bridge received strong opposition and the most submissions,” says mayor John Leggett.

“The hearing panel has heard the public’s view and acted on their wishes.”

The new policy and bylaw will come into effect from 1 August 2021, following endorsement by the full council on 24 June.

This will also allow time for Animal Control’s busy dog registration period to finish, and provide enough time for new signage to be installed.

They key changes for Blenheim are:

  • Along the Taylor River Reserve dogs are allowed off-leash from the Taylor Dam to the Henry Street bridge on the Blenheim town side, and to the Alfred Street bridge on the true left bank (west side), and both sides of Riverside Park north of the Sinclair Street rail bridge.
  • Dogs are allowed on-leash in the Blenheim Central Business District.
  • In Pollard Park, Churchill Glade and Waterlea Gardens dogs are allowed on-leash but are prohibited from the Blenheim golf course and the Baden Powell corner grassed area, BBQ picnic areas and the children’s playground.