Summerland continues search for more off-leash dog locations

Where to let Rover run free?

Dogs in Summerland could soon have more places to run free.

The district has put a new temporary fenced-in dog run area in Dale Meadows Park this week, and going forward, council will be exploring the possibility of allowing dogs off-leash during the off-season at select parks in the area.

District staff put together a proposal that would see an update to the parks bylaw to allow four-legged friends unfettered in some places, and greater on-leash access in others.

"Right now, dogs aren't allowed anywhere if you look at our bylaw," said Lori Mullin, director of parks and recreation, at Tuesday's council meeting.

The district worked with a consultant to come up with a proposed plan: allowing on-leash access all year, with the exception of sports fields, sport courts, skateparks, playgrounds and beaches, for Memorial Park, Dale Meadows Park, Living Memorial Park, Peach Orchard Beach Park, Powell Beach Park, Peach Orchard Park, Peach Orchard Campground, Giant's Head Park, Conkle Mountain Park and the Summerland Rodeo Grounds.

"So anything that's not reflected would be an indication that they're definitely not allowed. And the reason the consultant listed them and and didn't include smaller parks is because of the size of the parks and they felt it was more appropriate to focus on large public parks for dogs," Mullin explained.

Off-season, meaning between October and May, dogs would be allowed off-leach at just Peach Orchard Beach Park, Powell Beach Park, Conkle Mountain Park, Giant's Head when the road is closed for the season and the rodeo grounds.

"The intention of adding these new areas as an area where dogs can go will help our bylaw officers be able to enforce where dog shouldn't be going, or where we don't want dogs to go," Mullin said.

"The intention was to create more areas where dogs are allowed and help us ensure it's not happening in the areas we don't."

The new temporary fenced area at Dale Meadows Park for off-leash dogs has already been utilized by many local pet owners, and the district is looking for feedback at [email protected]

A search for a permanent, year-round off-leash area for dogs has been a lengthy ongoing project for the district.

Council voted to send the proposed parks bylaw change back to staff for further investigation and community consultation, and they will revisit adopting it at a future meeting.

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