Finding a permanent spot for more off-leash dog areas has been an ongoing issue for years in Summerland, B.C.
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“The problem we have in Summerland for a lot of things is that there’s just no perfect location to put a dog park,” said Summerland’s Mayor Doug Holmes.
“Just like there’s no perfect location to put pickleball courts, there’s no perfect location to put high-density housing, there’s no perfect location to put a solar array… so every time we are so challenged by our topography really and our agricultural spaces.”
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The district had trialed several spots around town, including at Dale Meadows Park. The pilot project there was eventually made permanent, but it is a small property.
“[Dale Meadows Park] was popular and there were no complaints and everything. So, we made that a permanent one,” said Holmes.
“But it’s quite small, so it’s only suitable for small dogs. We knew there was still demand for a large dog park.”
Back in May temporary fencing was put up at Peach Orchard Beach Park to create a pop-up off-leash dog park. And since the trial started council has received a significant amount of feedback.
Response to this spot has been mixed, some residents feel this is not the right location while others say it is perfect.
“Parking has (been) an issue and Lakeshore is busy in the summer; it’s a very popular location, and that area is where the public boat launches as well. So, parking with boat trailers has always been challenging,” said Holmes.
“So, you’re adding more activity, you’re going to add more parking. So that’s been an issue. There’s been concerns about nearby residents about the noise from the dogs.”
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To find a larger spot, council initially voted to try another temporary park before deciding where a permanent one would go.
The district reached out to privately owned land, including the Lutheran Church for the second time to see if they would host another pop-up there.
“For lots of different reasons, none of the other properties that we approached, it didn’t work for them,” added Holmes.
“With nowhere else to trial we’re kind of left with, OK, what do we do now? And do we continue with Orchard Beach as a temporary pop-up park with temporary fencing? Do we make it a permanent park?”
The District of Summerland has requested that staff come to budget deliberations with an outline of what it would cost to make the pop-up off-leash park at Peach Orchard Beach a permanent spot.
The temporary fence remains in place at Peach Orchard Beach however no official decision has been made on whether or not the dog park will stay.
“We continue to listen and I know our next council meeting, there’s going to be several people speaking to us about it, and we listen, and we tried to work it out. Knowing that it’s not a perfect location,” said Holmes.
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