A Papamoa dog trainer is very disappointed in a council decision to prohibit her from holding dog training classes inside the Papamoa Sport and Recreation Centre.
Dog Guru trainer Susan Cochrane was using the Dune Room at the recreation centre to hold dog training classes until Tauranga City Council decided to kick her out after she applied to undertake winter training at a Tauranga venue.
Dog Guru trainer Susan Cochrane and her dog Kylie outside the Papamoa Sport and Recreation Centre.
She appealed to the council two months ago, and now cannot go back into the Sport and Recreation centre at all.
“I was told dogs aren’t allowed in council facilities. I said I was using the Papamoa Sport and Recreation Centre, and got myself chucked out,” says Susan.
“It’s the only place I have managed to find in the whole of Papamoa that is suitable for doing dog training indoors.”
Susan says the Dune Room is perfect for winter training, giving the dogs access from outside the building, while the kitchen dining area is locked away behind a moveable wall.
“There’s no scout hall or guide halls, all the scouting activities are in the surf club, which is on the domain where dogs aren’t allowed.
“I’ve tried churches, but not found anything either, so we can’t offer indoor training in Papamoa.
Susan says all of her clientele loved the venue where staff told her the training class was the cleanest group to use the room.
“But because it has a moveable wall to extend the dining room, so it can be used as a dining area, the council have ruled that because the kitchen is registered, I can’t do that.”
Councillors decided at the council meeting on Monday that community halls and the Waipuna Park club rooms can now be used for organised dog activities subject to conditions determined by management or staff – except where excluded by the Food Hygiene Regulations.
Papamoa Sport and Recreation Centre and the TECT Arena at Baypark both have registered kitchens, which according to council staff, means the only animals legally permitted on the premises are seeing eye dogs and rodent controlling cats.
The main Papamoa Sport and Recreation Centre area is separated from the Dune Room by a retractable wall, which council says is not good enough for the Food Hygiene Regulations.
Facilities with sports floors are also to remain dog free, as is the carpeted Arataki Community Centre.
Susan is upset by the decision and says she has even offered to sanitise the floor after every class, but council did not accept this.
“Rules are rules, apparently, but if we had a dog that peed in that room I can guarantee it wouldn’t be the first time for something to pee in that room.
“The whole time they are talking about hygiene, but there are kids running in and out that room from the playing fields. You cannot tell me that the dogs are tracking in worse things than the kids are bringing in.”
When she told staff she was prepared to clean the room, she was informed it was not a hygiene issue, it was aesthetics – how would she feel if she hired it for high tea after her mother’s funeral to find dogs had been in there the day before?
But the report to council focused on food hygiene regulations.
Susan says nothing in the report prepared for council included any of the material or information Susan put into her submission, including letters and emails from customers.
“They just have a blanket rule. I’m very disappointed. I live in Papamoa. Everybody in Tauranga expects people from Papamoa to travel to Tauranga to do stuff, but nobody would ever think of going to Papamoa to do anything.
“There are so many potential clients in Papamoa, you would have thought the council would have been encouraging us to take care of the dogs, to treat them properly.
“The registered dog owners are having to pay for the irresponsible dog owners. We pay the fees but we get nothing for it, because it goes to chase up the irresponsible dog owners.
“So they are not prepared to take that into account. All our clients who we asked should we be still be able to use the facilities, all said ‘yes’. Because they are ratepayers too.
“From the other point of view as a ratepayer, it wasn’t as if we were stopping someone else from renting that room. That room was always empty. And now we are not renting it they are not getting any rental from it. We were helping the council by renting a room that they were not getting any money for and now we are not renting it they are not getting any rent for it.”
Susan’s also a bit dubious about the food hygiene ruling.
“Where there are multiple rooms to rent in a building with a registered kitchen only the rooms next to the kitchen are counted as the premises,” says Susan.
The questions is about the moveable wall. Susan says every time she has been in the centre the moveable wall has been locked in place.
“The dogs cannot go into the other room. We have outside access to bring the dogs in and out straight from the field.
“It was a perfect room as far as we are concerned.”