Saanich experimenting with temporary off-leash dog parks

Saanich is spending $30,000 to set up five temporary off-leash dog areas this summer, including one at Cadboro-Gyro Park.

Temporary fencing will be set up for two weeks at a time at the five parks.

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The first “pop-up” park will be in Fowler Park from June 29 to June 12. The second will be in Hyacinth Park, July 13 to July 26. The program will then move to Gorge Park, July 27 to Aug. 9, then Rudd Park, Aug 10 to Aug 23 and finally Cadboro-Gyro Park from Aug. 24 to Sept. 7.

The parks, which will be supplied with additional garbage cans, will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Parks staff will visit the parks on a regular basis to receive feedback on the program and gather information.

The “pop-up” dog park program is based on a recommendation from the district’s parks, trails and recreation committee. It will be used to gauge the level of acceptance for establishing designated off-leash areas in Saanich parks and guide the district’s upcoming dog strategy.

There are currently no designated dog parks in Saanich. Only a small number of Saanich’s 170 parks have dog restrictions. Most allow dogs that are on leash or under effective control.

“We want our beautiful parks to be enjoyable and comfortable spaces for all users and we want to support responsible dog owners,” said committee chair Coun. Judy Brownoff.

The district hopes to determine whether establishing an off-leash area in Gyro Park reduces demand for the off-leash beach area.

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