Council not ducking issues

The Clutha District Council moved to allay fears the future of the ducks and the pond at Naish Park in Balclutha could be decided without consulting the public.

The council took to social media this week to assure the community decisions were a long way off after it was reported council staff had considered a range of options to deal with duck and excrement problems at the park , including culling ducks, filling in the pond, or trying to prevent people feeding the water fowl.

The council's communication co-ordinator, Rachel Askew, said the council had decided to use a Facebook presence because it had seen ''a few comments querying about what was happening with the duck pond on social media''.

She said the council's next step, a wide review of the district's parks and reserves, including Naish Park, would begin on July 1.

''People will be able to tell us what they think about Naish Park and if they have any ideas about what should happen.''

The pond's water quality, the amount of duck excrement around the park, and damage to the grass were all issues highlighted as being problems at the park.

The council continued to urge people to stop feeding the ducks ''to see if this reduces the problem''.

Emmy Vreugdenhil (85) has lived 20m from Naish Park for the past eight years.

She said she was shocked to learn there were issues at the park.

She went to the park at least three times a week, her grandchildren played in the park, and thought the problems with the mess left behind by ducks and the water quality in the pond were being overstated by council.

''There's nothing wrong with the park,'' she said.

''It's not a swimming pool, it's a duck pool.

''I come from a farm and if you have animals around you expect something.''

According to the council, the area was cleaned four times a year.

''But this is obviously not enough, and any additional cleans would cost about $500 a clean.''

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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