Fenced Dog Park at Ponds Corridor: Community Consultation

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Sooke is working to enhance community identity, vitality, and safety – and a fenced dog park offers one mechanism to do so. Highly requested by residents as a desirable community amenity, dog parks offer many benefits; they provide:

  • a centralized location for like-minded residents to connect, share and join together. Dog parks create a sense of community and forge friendships among users.
  • an increase in livability in the town core where lots are smaller than in the rural areas of Sooke.
  • a safe space for residents with mobility concerns to allow their dogs to run.

Additional benefits include:

  • supporting pet’s health - getting the proper amount of exercise is vital for their wellness. For people with more active breeds, taking them on walks may not be enough to release their energy. Fenced dog parks give pets the opportunity to run faster and play hard with other pets in the park.
  • well-exercised dogs are tired dogs, and tired dogs are more likely to be good (and quiet) neighbours.
  • several studies have shown dog parks discourage crime, loitering and raise property values.

Further benefits and interest expressed for this amenity is highlighted throughout the Parks and Trails Master Plan. The dog park will be a 20 metre x 50 metre fenced space, located in Ponds Corridor. Phase one of the park development will include 1.8 metre chain link fence, swing gates, bear resistant waste station and parking.

Sooke is working to enhance community identity, vitality, and safety – and a fenced dog park offers one mechanism to do so. Highly requested by residents as a desirable community amenity, dog parks offer many benefits; they provide:

  • a centralized location for like-minded residents to connect, share and join together. Dog parks create a sense of community and forge friendships among users.
  • an increase in livability in the town core where lots are smaller than in the rural areas of Sooke.
  • a safe space for residents with mobility concerns to allow their dogs to run.

Additional benefits include:

  • supporting pet’s health - getting the proper amount of exercise is vital for their wellness. For people with more active breeds, taking them on walks may not be enough to release their energy. Fenced dog parks give pets the opportunity to run faster and play hard with other pets in the park.
  • well-exercised dogs are tired dogs, and tired dogs are more likely to be good (and quiet) neighbours.
  • several studies have shown dog parks discourage crime, loitering and raise property values.

Further benefits and interest expressed for this amenity is highlighted throughout the Parks and Trails Master Plan. The dog park will be a 20 metre x 50 metre fenced space, located in Ponds Corridor. Phase one of the park development will include 1.8 metre chain link fence, swing gates, bear resistant waste station and parking.

  • What We Heard Data Available

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    June 29, 2021 - The Parks and Trails Master Plan, adopted on October 13, 2020, identified Pond’s Park Corridor as a desirable off-leash dog park and suggested a $50,000 project budget (p. 73). Community engagement, specific to the identified site was undertaken by staff from May 4, 2021 to June 4, 2021. Notably, the engagement phase is subsequent to the community consultation undertaken to develop the parks and Trails Master Plan.

    The goal of the fenced-dog park engagement was to inform neighbouring residents, and the community, of the selected location, prioritize site amenities, and to better understand concerns so that they could be mitigated during the park design phase.

    Park neighbours were informed of the project by a direct mail letter and provided with a print survey and information pamphlet sent the week of April 26, 2021. Community notification was announced through a press release issued on May 4th, and trail signage with accompanying information pamphlets along the corridor from John Phillips Memorial Park to Art Morris Ball Park.

    Through all promotional materials, residents were directed to the online engagement platform at letstalk.sooke.ca/dogpark with print surveys also being made available for those without computer access.

    The online engagement platform included project information, answers to anticipated questions, a project timeline, a survey, and a “ask a question” submission where questions could be received and responded to publicly.

    Further, District staff engaged neighbours, trail users and dog parks on site during the consultation period with information pamphlets also provided through local pet-orientated businesses.

    The data collected during the May 4 to June 4, 2021 engagement period is captured in this report and will be presented to Council at the July 19, 2021 Committee of the Whole meeting for discussion.

  • Council approves Parks & Trails Master Plan

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    October 13, 2020 - Council approved the Parks & Trails Master Plan which identified Pond's Park Corridor and suggests a $50,000 budget towards the project (p. 73).

    Considerable discussion on a fenced-dog park in Sooke is captured throughout the plan, including:

    • Key Challenge: “Not enough dog off-leash areas” (p. 5)
    • Focus Investment: “Dog-off leash areas” (p. 5)
    • “Dog ownership is popular in Sooke. Sixty-two percent of survey respondents own dogs, which yielded significant input related to dogs in parks and trails. This is consistent with a CRD study that estimated around 36% of households own dogs, with an average of 1.3 dogs in each of these households. There are an estimated 2,500 dogs in Sooke.” (p. 10 – see figure 1)
    • “The District is also lacking some amenities typical in most communities, such as dog off-leash areas” (p. 12)
    • “The management of dogs is a particular challenge due to the lack of an on-leash bylaw and dog off-leash areas.” (p. 12)
    • Shaping the future/ Key Trends: “Dog ownership is high in Sooke, and urban areas are being planned to recognize the social and physical benefits to people that come from embracing responsible uses by humans and their dogs. Communities are planning destination and neighbourhood-level dog off-leash areas and designating trails and water access points that welcome dogs.” (p. 14)
    • Key direction: “Focus on providing more dog-off leash areas” (p. 45)
    • “Sooke has estimated that residents own around 2,500 dogs. The District does not have an on-leash bylaw; however, dogs are required to be under ‘effective control’, which is a confusing and unenforceable requirement. There are no designated dog off-leash areas. Neighbouring communities require dogs to be on leash in most parks or have seasonal on-leash requirements. The CRD performs dog/animal enforcement in Sooke.” (p. 52)
    • “Trends in dog management in communities recognize the social and physical benefits to people that come from embracing responsible uses by humans and their dogs. Communities are planning destination and neighbourhood-level dog off-leash areas and designating trails and water access points that welcome dogs.” (p. 52)
    • Residents provided many pages of comments regarding dogs, the key input being the following:
      • There should be an on-leash bylaw to prevent dog issues throughout the District
      • There should be designated dog off-leash areas
      • Dog management is needed on Whiffin Spit in particular, as dogs are generally off-leash and they disturb birds
      • Need more bylaw control of dogs and consideration of dog waste management within solid waste management planning
      • Need designated off-leash and on-leash trails (p. 52)
Page last updated: 29 September 2021, 08:49