This morning Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry officially opened the Les Dalton Dog Park to the public, and was joined by a contingent of about 500 people and their dogs for the city’s first Dog Day Out.
Campbell Barry said the opening of the dog park has been a long time coming for the city’s dog community, and will be a well utilised asset in the city — evidenced by the strong turnout on the park’s opening day.
“It was an absolute pleasure joining dog owners and their furry friends this morning, and seeing everyone, especially the dogs, experience and enjoy the park for the first time,” Campbell Barry says.
“It is our city’s first fenced dog exercise area in Lower Hutt, and I know it will be well utilised by Lower Hutt’s 10,000 dogs and their owners.”
Wairnuiomata Ward Councillor Keri Brown spoke of the importance animals can play in people’s lives, and said the park is a way for Council to give back to the dog community.
“Our pets play a huge role in our lives. They’re our companions, our friends, and an important part of our families. This park is about giving all of our dogs a place where they can exercise, socialise safely, and have some fun,” says Keri Brown.
“I want to acknowledge everyone involved in getting this project over the line – from the local dog community, fellow Councillors, and Hutt City Council staff. It has been a team effort, and it has really paid off.”
The dog park was named as a tribute to Les Dalton, who passed away one year ago today. Les worked at Hutt City Council’s Animal Services team for 43 years, and was a prominent local and national voice about dog control. The dog park was the last major project he worked on, and the council decided it was a fitting tribute to name the park after him.
Campbell Barry thanked the Dalton whānau at the official opening event, and presented them a posthumous certificate of appreciation to Les Dalton for his years of service to dog safety, at a local, national and international level.
“It was a real privilege to open the park alongside Les’ wife Jill. As everyone said, Les would be extremely excited and proud to see the park open today,” says Campbell Barry.
Michelle Dalton, Les’ daughter, spoke on behalf of the Dalton whānau at the event, and said that she knew Les would be looking down on the park with a smile.
“Today is an emotional day for our family, but also one where we can enjoy seeing Les’ vision come to life.”