Penticton is embarking on designating more off-leash dog parks in the city, while heeding commands of a tight budget.
Council directed staff Tuesday to move forward with an off-leash area at an old works yard at 616 Okanagan Ave. and four other potential sites if volunteers and funding sources could be found.
Public works manager Len Robson presented council with an overview of how the city could create a network of off-leash dog parks to complement the existing site designated on Okanagan Beach.
But given the city’s fiscal restraints, Robson said staff had identified five areas where off-leash dog parks could be developed that would require little in the way of start-up or maintenance costs.
The first location is on Ellis Creek Trailhead Park, where 31 metres of fencing, a bag dispenser, two signs and a garbage can would be required. The costs would be partially covered by a government grant.
Vacant land at the water plant at 1900 Penticton Ave. is also being considered because of its proximity to Penticton Creek, along which many people already walk their dogs. That would cost $425.
A site close to rental housing nearby Munson Mountain could also be used, with the parking area graded with asphalt millings and the remainder of the site left natural. It would cost $9,725 to build.
The trails and paths at the former nature park at 650 Wiltse Blvd. could also be officially designed an off-leash dog area, where many residents already let Rover roam.
The city yard at 616 Okanagan Ave. is also in contention because there is an unused section of the compound previously used as a dog run for the old SPCA. Fence repairs and site cleanup would be required, to the tune of $425.
The total cost for the network of parks would be $15,625.
Coun. Andrew Jakubeit suggested a phased-in fee with dog licences might drum up the funds. “I think dog owners would support that. They’re the ones really looking for options in off-leash parks,” he said.
Staff will be drafting a new strategy based on communication with the SPCA and what additional fees would help offset the costs of the parks.