By Mike Gregory
The Town of Ladysmith opened a new fenced park last Thursday where local residents’ four-legged friends can go to enjoy some off-leash freedom.
Located just behind the École Davis Elementary School, the Davis Road Dog Park at 444 Parkhill Terrace has been in the works for some time.
Mayor Aaron Stone said the dog park was made possible through the partnership the town has formed with Nanaimo-Ladysmith School Board District 68.
“There were concerns around other locations that we had chosen but this has been broadly supported and it’s been very popular,” he said.
The creation of the new dog park pre-dates Stone’s time as mayor.
Just after the election a petition came to council with over 500 signatures supporting a fenced dog park.
Ladysmith has always had off leash areas around town but nothing fenced.
In 2014, local resident Robin Maxted took up the cause for a fenced park from several others who had come before him, including Linda Brown.
“Having been to fenced areas in Campbell River, Cumberland, Vancouver and Nanaimo I’d seen how beneficial these parks are for socializing the animals as well as their owners,” Maxted said.
“They often turn into community hubs where people get to know each other while their dogs do the same.”
The fenced dog park eventually formed part of the recommendations which were developed through community input as part of the 2016 Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan.
To cover the $10,000 cost of fencing the green space, council struck a plan to increase the dog licensing fees in addition to a reserve fund that had already been created for the project.
Stone said that the dog park in addition to the nearby playground now makes this location an even more ideal spot for a family outing.
“I think it’s the right place for it and allows people to mix recreation,” he said. “There’s a nice collection of uses here for a park space.”