Cycleway bylaw bid seeks animal ban

By Sandy Myhre

1 comment
A section of the Twin Coast Cycle Trail crosses farmland next to Lake Omapere.
A section of the Twin Coast Cycle Trail crosses farmland next to Lake Omapere.

The Far North District Council is considering a specific bylaw for the Pou Herenga Tai - Twin Coast Cycle Trail and could ban dogs and horses as a public safety measure.

When completed, the 84km trail will join Opua in the Bay of Islands and Horeke on the Hokianga Harbour.

According to the council under current legislation there is no single instrument for the management of the use of the trail which is on private land, Crown land, road reserve and land vested to the control of council and is why a specific health and safety bylaw is deemed necessary.

However, two of the proposed provisions in the draft bylaw have upset some dog lovers, horse owners and even cyclists.

It is planned to ban dogs and horses altogether, except where horses need to cross the trail.

Other proposed provisions include not being able to use the trail at night and cycling on the trail in low light unless the bike is equipped with safety lights.

Council said without a means of enforcement riding motor-cycles, exercising dogs and riding horses could create a risk to the safety of trail users.

Some anti-social behaviour is already covered by other bylaws and legislation and a voluntary Trail Code sets out expected behaviour for users of the track but which for the most part is not legally enforceable. If the bylaw is adopted, anyone who breaches the provisions and commits an offence is liable on a summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000.

Online and mailed submissions close today. A public hearing of submissions takes place on Monday, August 15.

Depending on the level of public interest Council wants the new bylaw adopted by October 2016.

- Northern Advocate

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