People, Parks, and Dogs: A Strategy for sharing Vancouver’s parks is currently in the works as the city’s dog population continues to rise. Consultants are looking for public input through a series of open houses in September and October.
Parks Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon said the board receives calls all the time ranging from dog owners complaining about a lack of off-leash areas, to others complaining about dogs off-leash in undesignated spots.
“It’s probably the number one issue that we hear about,” he said.
Mackinnon said it’s been a controversial subject for over 25 years and different boards have tried different things, including a citizen committee formed about 10 years ago that couldn’t come to a unanimous decision.
“This new board has decided that this is a topic that we would like to tackle and see if we can find a way to meet the needs of both dog owners and non-dog owners in our parks,” he said.
Consultations will take place at community centres, including Trout Lake, David Lam, St. James, Roundhouse, Langara, Sunset and Kitsilano. The committee is also looking at strategies from other cities. The new strategy will add to dog off-leash guidelines approved by the Park Board in 2012.
“We live in a fairly dense city, and the number of dogs and dog owners is increasing all the time,” said Mackinnon. “And there’s bound to be interactions between people with dogs and people without dogs.”
He said the committee is looking at factors like fenced areas, un-fenced areas, exclusive dog parks and exclusive non-dog parks.
The first public consultation will take place at Trout Lake Community Centre on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m.
Visit Vancouver.ca or email PeopleParksDogs@vancouver.ca for more info.