A stink has erupted in Glenduan after some disgruntled residents decided to take the community’s growing doggy-do problem into their own hands – including delivering dog droppings to the mayor.
Long-time residents Katherine Flanigan and Ray Cannel have dubbed the Boulder Bank walking track “doggy-do lane”. They recently counted more than 120 droppings on the popular dog spot, which is located on both Nelson City Council and Department of Conservation land.
The pair say they have spent the last three years asking both organisations to do something about it. Although both agencies have now vowed to fix the problem, the couple say they are making “minimum token effort”.
Dogs at Glenduan must be on leads, and owners must pick up their dog’s droppings or else they could face a $300 fine. Currently, there is only one rubbish bin, no bag dispensers and limited signs.
“I first contacted the council and DOC years ago, but they kept passing the buck,” says Katherine.
“I’ve stopped walking. I used to go four days a week but I’ve got to the stage now where it makes me angry and sick. If you’re running, you don’t dare look up at the scenery.”
Last week, the council said they would address the issue by relocating the one rubbish bin at the beach to the start of the track.
Signs will also be erected by the toilets, the playground and the beachfront requesting that people ensure they clean up after their dog and keep them on leashes.
“We are happy about the signs going up, but relocating one rubbish bin isn’t going to help. They need to put bins along the track and a bag dispenser,” says Ray.
“Why take one bin that’s already there for people who sit and have picnics, uplift it and move it to the beginning of the track? Then you get a pile of mess on the beach – it’s defeating the purpose.”
Over the last few months, Ray has been on his own crusade, erecting “dozens” of his own homemade signs – some of which other members of the community, who do not share quite the same views, are not so keen on.
He even hand-delivered some “dried” dog droppings in a sealed bag to council in December, with a letter to Rachel Reese. “I wanted to make a point, otherwise nothing was going to happen,” he says.
A council staff member replied to Ray with a note saying patrols would be increased and that the bag of droppings had been disposed of.
Alec Louverdis, group manager infrastructure at the council says they are “well aware” of the residents’ concerns and they had been responded to.
“Council staff have discussed the issue with DOC and we are now organising to relocate the rubbish bin and to install appropriate signage this week.”
He also says that visits to the area by animal control officers have increased but they won’t install a bag dispenser because of the “environmental impacts”.
“Often these dispensers get unrolled, creating a lot of plastic rubbish. Installing one so close to the ocean is viewed as a potential risk to the ecosystem health.
“Dogs are required to be on a lead in the Glenduan Reserve and council and DOC hope that these measures will help in reinforcing the message to dog owners/walkers.”
But Ray is not placated.
“It is one big dog toilet down there.
“We’ve even thought of putting a 44-gallon drum halfway along the track with a plastic liner in it. I’m not going to stop until it’s sorted.”