City of North Vancouver Waterfront Park, Victoria Park, Hamersley Park and East 1st site are the top locations where residents would like an off-leash dog area in Lower Lonsdale, according to a survey conducted by CNV.
CNV conducted an open house this June and has been soliciting public input on a new off-leash area for dogs in Lonsdale. The city mapped active dog licences this year and found a high concentration of them were issued to people in Lower Lonsdale.
Lower Lonsdale, however, doesn’t offer any city-sanctioned off-leash dog opportunities and the city wants to create such an area. Its goal is to create a small, urban off-leash area within a five to ten minutes of walking distance of Lower Lonsdale.
The city hopes to create an off-leash dog area of a minimum of 0.04 acres with durable speciality surfacing such as artificial turf. The off-leash dog area will have high-quality fencing. There will be special amenities such as water, shade and seating.
Currently, CNV offers three destination-type off-leash areas, which include Kings Mill Walk, Lynnmouth Park and Mosquito Creek Park.
Over 500 people have given their input to the city. Majority of those surveyed want the city to create a fenced space large enough for the dogs to run. Many also want separate play areas for big and small dogs. Parking nearby, water fountains for people and the pets, enough poop bins, washrooms, and some agility features were on the top of the mind of those who were surveyed.
Respondents said they have to drive too far to access off-leash area. Lack of clear signage and parking were some other challenges dog owners would like the city to attend to. CNV resident Erin Fuller is well aware of these challenges.
Fuller started an online petition and even appeared before council to make her case in 2015. She suggested that the green space on East 1st street be fenced and converted into a park, a place already being used as a de-facto off-leash park. Fuller says while the fenced-in park would be ideal for dog owners, it would also be a place where dog lovers could interact with each other. Another place, Fuller says, that could be an off-leash dog park is the waterfront park, north of the railway lines on Esplanade.
She hopes the city would get to build the dog parks sooner than later. “I appeared before council four years ago. I want this to happen faster. I hope this gets build within the life span of my dog,” she says.
Meanwhile, the city is organising another open house on Wednesday, October 9, 4:30 to 7:30 pm at the waterfront park near West Esplanade and Semisch. Dog lovers can review the findings from the first open house and discuss the features of a pilot off-leash area.