By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Dec. 22, 2012
District of Squamish hopes to designate eight sites in town as dog-friendly and off-leash dog areas.
Some like the Eagle Wind and Willow Park would have a fenced off-leash park, while others, like Judd Beach and Merrill Park, would have designated dog-friendly trails.
These will be phased out in the next four years.
The district is currently seeking input through its Parks and Recreation Master plan to find out where Squamish would like its off-leash and designated dog parks to be.
District also plans to launch an information program, within the next year to publicise and promote the use of the dog parks, as well as to discourage the use of undesignated areas.
District spokesperson Christina Moore said there are plans to put aside a budget for information and maintenance of the dog parks.
Opportunities for corporate sponsorship of dog parks will also be pursued by the staff, she added.
Squamish has no designated dog parks, although several unofficial areas, like Nexen Beach are being used by the public.
It has one designated off-leash park, near the tennis court in downtown Squamish, but it’s rarely used.
Moore said typically parks maintenance staff and by-law enforcement officers hear about issues and complaints relating to dogs, particularly in parks and public open space.
City of Victoria has developed a ‘Paws in Parks’ program and 12 designated dog-friendly parks, which provide signage, dispenser stocked with biodegradable doggie bags, and a trash bin.
Animal rights activist Chaya Jorgensen said an increased numbers of off-leash dog parks in Squamish are long overdue.
But, she would like to know what kind of dog parks these would be?
“Are they going to be similar to the mud pit of a park that is in disrepair? Will they be fenced areas to keep the dogs safe from traffic?”
Jorgensen said having off leash areas that are safe, inviting and maintained will benefit the community.
Dog trainer Valley Calderoni said dog parks have the ability to bring communities together, but off-leash areas should be used responsibly to minimize conflict between dogs.
Planned dog parks (Box items)
Glacier View Park (fenced off-leash area)
Willow Park (fenced off-leash area)
Nexen Beach (unfenced dog-friendly designated area)
John Hunter Park (unfenced dog-friendly designated area)
Squamish River and Mamquam River Dykes (specified dog-friendly trails)
Judd Beach (specified dog-friendly trails)
Merrill Park (specified dog-friendly trails)
The Eagle Wind Park (fenced off-leash area)