A community-driven dog park project in Rakaia has broken ground and aims to be fully fenced and open by the end of the year.
It will be located on unused land at the northern end of Railway Terrace West.
The land for the project is 200m long and more than 20m wide and runs parallel to the railway line.
Two thirds of the dog park will be allocated for bigger dogs and the rest for smaller dogs.
A double gate system at each end will allow access into the separate paddocks.
The dog park project is the brainchild of Rakaia local and keen dog walker Deb Renga.
Mrs Renga took her idea and plans to the Rakaia Community Association (RCA) 12 months ago and found support for the project.
The dog park would provide a safe area for people to run their dogs off leash, Mrs Renga said.
Dog parks provided a good space for dogs to socialise and for their owners to do the same.
Mrs Renga said she had been out walking one day when another dog had leapt out and attacked her faithful canine Kaka.
The attack had shaken them both up and spurned the idea of a dedicated dog park in the township.
Supporters of the dog park project have now formed a subcommittee under the RCA and are pushing forward with plans.
Volunteers have helped clear the overgrown site of gorse and weeds and removed old fencing materials and rotten posts.
Beautification funding given to the community association by Ashburton District Council has been used to get Hampton Earthmoving in with big equipment to further clear and level the land.
Mrs Renga said the dog park land appeared to have no owner, with KiwiRail and council both saying it was not theirs.
She said grass sown on the land should start showing up in the next month or two and two of the four deer fence gates needed for the project had already been generously donated.
A mower belonging to RCA would be borrowed to help with upkeep and it was hoped to get water and dog poo bins in, and also native plantings in the future.
Fencing was expected to cost a hefty $22,000 and funding applications were being submitted.
Supporters of the dog park would be acknowledged through a sponsor’s board at the end of the project, Mrs Renga said.
Two fundraisers are also lined up to help with costs. The community is being invited to email a photo of their dog to Mrs Renga by the end of August for inclusion in a calendar which will then be sold.
A car show on September 19 (9am until 3pm), supported by locals and the Ashburton Car Club, will be held at the Rakaia Domain. Entry is $5 per car or $1 for walk-ins.
Anyone wanting to send dog photos for the calendar or offer other support for the project can email to email@example.com
-By Mick Jensen