Plans for an off-leash dog park at 6th Avenue and Methuen have raised the hackles of residents living adjacent to the site.
“Nobody in their right mind would want to live next to a dog park,” said Sarah Bonar, speaking on behalf of residents, who crowded Ladysmith council chambers.
She said the town has not consulted adequately with the neighbourhood, and that the location is ill-suited. Going ahead with the project would lead to disruption, odors, decreased property values and parking problems she predicted.
Mayor Aaron Stone said the town and council will consider the residents’ concerns in making a final decision about where to locate a dog park. “I think what you have brought forward is very relevant,” he said.
“It’s been made very clear that the people on the map at that location don’t want it.”
Another concern raised by Bonar is the possibility that the BC Hydro site, formerly used for a sub station, may be contaminated with PCB’s and heavy metals.
The sub-station was decommissioned prior to 1997, when regulations about remediating former sites were less stringent than today.
At the time a ‘letter of comfort’ was issued when a site was remediated; now decommissioned sites have to meet standards in the provincial Contaminated Sites Regulations.
“We have sent an email to BC Hydro Property Division for proof that recent sampling has been completed to show this site meets the current regulations for the intended use,” a submission from Bonar and other concerned residents states.
During Question Period at the end of the council meeting Stone said approval for the site as a dog park has not been confirmed by BC Hydro, and until then “we can’t do anything.”
He was responding to Robin Maxted and other supporters of the dog park, who took issue with the characterization of dog parks by the Methuen and Sixth Avenue residents who opposed to it as smelly, messy and noisy.
“I’d be interested if there’s any indication that property values next to a dog park are devalued,” Maxted said. He also pointed out that dog owners, who use the parks routinely, are careful to pick up after their pets.
Maxted suggested the opposed residents visit some of the other dog parks in the region to see for themselves how well they are operated.
Stone said Ladysmith is committed to building a new dog park in the town area, but that everybody has to have a say in the final location and design.
“We just need to let the process go through and make sure everybody’s heard and be fair,” he said.