Ladysmith canine question barking up three trees

Trio of fenced dog park sites examined while council makes changes to Transfer Beach off-leash area

Three preferred options have been identified for a fenced dog park in Ladysmith, and Town staff have been given the green light to investigate each.

At the March 16 meeting, council directed staff to develop plans and determine costs related to developing a fenced dog park at either the BC Hydro property at Sixth Avenue and Methuen Street, the School District 68 École Davis Road playing field, and Brown Drive Park.

No time frame was discussed for the process of this second dog park for the town, but, in the meantime, council authorized changes to a popular off-leash area.

Councillors decided the Upper Transfer Beach off-leash dog area will be redefined to include only the area south of the entrance to the Horseshoe Club driveway, while dogs will be permitted on-leash in the remaining Upper Transfer Beach area.

Appropriate signage will be installed to show the newly-defined off-leash area and on-leash areas in the Upper Transfer Beach area, and signage, split wood fencing and landscaping material will be used to maintain the open feeling of the park scape, and all associated costs for this work will be included in the 2015 financial plan discussions.

Coun. Rob Hutchins had questions about the proposal to put split wood fencing in that area, because he understood that in the past, that proposal didn’t resonate with people who used Transfer Beach Park, and they wanted to keep that area open.

“One of the options is to continue to have an off-leash area, but one that is safe and controlled, rather than have it open, which has caused some issues with users,” said Clayton Postings, the Town’s director of Parks, Recreation and Culture. “No. 1 is to provide some control areas for dogs and owners and ensure some safety for users.”

Postings told council that so far, the focus of discussions with the Parks and Recreation Commission and members of the public who attended the discussions was on specific locations for a proposed park.

Coun. Duck Paterson thought investing in split wood fencing and signage would be a good idea.

“I’ve learned we need some kind of barrier to keep dogs from running on the road,” he said. “And split wood fits that area better than chain link.”

As well, council authorized an increase to dog license fees of $4 per licence, effective in 2016. The additional revenue will be used for the development of a fenced dog park — for construction and signage — and to offset the increase to the Parks operations budget due to the addition of new parks facilities.

Hutchins did not support the increase, pointing out that the Town set aside $14,000 for a dog park a few years back when the issue of a fenced dog park came up and didn’t raise the levy at that time.

Paterson told council that the three members of the public who came to the Parks and Recreation Commission for the dog park discussions had no objections to the increase.

“I find $4 is so incidental in the cost of having these wonderful animals, I don’t think anyone will be barking at us,” said Coun. Carol Henderson.

With these changes, the Town’s parks usage bylaw will be changed to reflect that dogs are permitted on-leash in all parks, with the exception of defined restricted areas.

Dogs are not permitted on all playgrounds, sport field playing areas and at Transfer Beach below deKoninck Way, at the amphitheatre and on the beach front.

Dogs are permitted in control off-leash at Transfer Beach Park in the defined off-leash area above deKoninck Way, as well as Mackie Park, Holland Creek Trail and Gourlay-Janes Park.