With three new off-leash dog parks available, the City of Penticton shelved plans for a fourth last week.
In September 2011, the city decided to develop three areas as off-leash dog parks. Two are already open, one on Penticton Avenue near the water plant, and another at the old SPCA site while the third, at the foot of Ellis Avenue, is nearly ready.
“We’re just waiting for the grass to establish itself do a certain level and then we will open it up,” said Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations for the city. “We are very close, the construction is finished.”
The fourth park, however, has been cancelled after the Okanagan Skaha School District registered some concerns, as it would have been sited in a nature area near Wiltse Elementary.
Moroziuk said they began consultations with the school before beginning work on the area, since they would be most affected. After hearing their feedback, Moroziuk said they decided not continue or extend the consultations to the neighbourhood.
“The school is not in favour of development of this area as a dog park. They use that area as a nature area for their students … and they want to be able to continue to do so,” he said.
The school listed concerns that current problems with dogs on the school fields might be carried over into the nature area.
Moroziuk added that the decision to pull back from the planned Wiltse park was also based on lessons learned from operating the first two parks over the last couple of months.
“They generate a lot of traffic. We were very surprised by the number of cars that come to these,” he said. “The Wiltse one is in a residential area, so that is not necessarily compatible.”
But with Wiltse shelved, city council isn’t willing to give up on a fourth park.
“I think there are other areas that do make sense and we should be investigating those,” said Coun. Andrew Jakubeit. “They have been very well received. There is a public demand, so we as council should be looking at doing some more.”
Possibilities for another dog park include the beach on Eastside Road and on the 10-acre block owned by the city on Munson Mountain.