Summerland residents rally for final push to save contentious dog park

Push to save pooch park

Dozens of people and their four-legged companions showed up for a group photo as one last push to keep a contentious off-leash dog park at Peach Orchard in Summerland.

“This turnout was amazing especially considering we just announced the photo idea last week. It just shows how many people love this park. And all the dogs were so well behaved,” said Robert Hacking of the Summerland Dog Owners Association who helped organize the group photo on Sunday.

“This park has had such a mental health benefit for the community. People have made new friends here and even met their partners here. It’s such a community hub and social connection. It’s what parks are supposed to be. Before this it was a geese washroom,” said Hacking.

The dog owners association will present to Summerland council on Tuesday, to give them an update on the benefits of the park and the signed petition in hopes they will vote to make the fenced in dog area permanent.

But another group called Restore Peach Orchard Park has been pushing council to remove the dog park. They presented to council in May pushing council to shut it down. They also have a petition.

They cite noise and environmental concerns.

“This has 12 years of council exploring dog parks, five public consultations, taking dozens of hours of staff time. They put this one up on a trial basis and they’ve seen what a success it’s been. More people are happy that the park is here than not,” said Hacking.

There are around 1,450 signatures on the petition to save the dog park, with a goal of 2,000.

In the district's 2024 budget deliberations, $50,000 was included for establishing a permanent fenced dog park, but the location was not part of the budget discussions.

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