District of Squamish is inviting locals to an open house on plans for a pilot project for proposed off-leash dog areas in town. The off-leash areas will be at designated parks, trails, and nature areas.
The open house will take place in the pool lobby at the Brennan Park Recreation Centre on September 24, 4 pm to 7 pm.
In May, District of Squamish launched a survey seeking opinion from locals on off-leash dog areas in town. “Survey feedback helped to inform the proposals for pilot locations, conditions and enforcement, and we now wish to present this information to the public to get additional feedback before launching,” the district said.
Judd Beach Trails in Brackendale, Merrill Park in Garibaldi Highlands, Squamish River dike behind Dog Pound, Stawamus River dike, Trails between the Squamish Valley Golf Club and the Mamquam River are the locations being considered for the pilot project.
These areas would be a “shared off-leash area” meaning that it isn’t solely for the use of off-leash dogs, or solely for the use of other user groups. Dogs would be allowed to be off-leash under certain conditions, for example at certain times of the day.
This means that non-dog owners will encounter off-leash dogs at certain times of the day. If you are a dog owner, this would mean that you could take your dog off leash in certain areas at certain times of the day.
The Squamish Estuary, however, is being considered a “no go” zone for off-leash dogs, meaning that dogs must be leashed in this area at all times. This is to protect important wildlife and natural habitat values, and enforcement would be prioritized.
Natasha Golbeck, a senior director of community services, told council this year that staff will engage the community around the following objectives: how to achieve increased harmony in recreation areas between dog-owners, non-dog owners and all recreation user groups, realistic rules and guidelines that are enforceable and public safety – in particular as it relates to interactions with wildlife as a result of off-leash dogs.
Demand for dedicated off leash locations has increased with growth in population and an increase in conflict between dogs and wildlife.