July 20, 2015 - 1:10 PM
KELOWNA - An online petition is calling for a second dog beach in a North End Kelowna park but the city says its not as simple as just putting up a fence and few signs.
The petition on Change.org has over 600 signatures of people who think at least a portion of Sutherland Park on Ellis Street beside the Tolko mill should be fenced off and turned into a off-leash dog park.
Nicole Lamvohee is one of them.
“We really do need something on this side of the city. There’s a huge animal-owning community here so to only provide one off-leash beach access is just not enough.”
Lamvohee owns a big Black Lab and says frequent and varied exercise is a daily requirement.
“Being able to exercise him and also cool him off in this heat is a big deal. We try to make it out to Cedar Creek beach but its pretty far away.”
The city's Cedar Creek Park has the only dog-friendly beach in Kelowna and it's way out on Lakeshore Road in the Mission.
As far as city parks planning manager Terry Barton is concerned, the petitioners are on the right track, at least as far as a possible site for a future dog beach is concerned.
“It’s something we’ve considered ourselves. Sutherland was an off-leash dog park about 15 years ago. We were thinking a little further north to where there’s a linear park along the foreshore."
A plan is on the books for an expansion and upgrade of Sutherland Park, which would be the logical time to consider adding a dog beach. The city owns most of the property along Poplar Point Drive but still lacks the one piece of property which would allow the expansion.
Barton says a more serious obstacle is the people living in the neighbourhood. Concerns about traffic and noise is why the city pulled the dog beach from Sutherland Park 15 years ago and attempts to move it elsewhere have generally met with stiff neighbourhood resistance.
“We tried it at Kinsmen Park about five years ago and it did not go well," he says. "And there’s proximity to consider. The demand is really from the central part of the city. There’s no point putting another dog beach a few kilometres from the first one.”
The city has also considered turning one of the small beach areas near Kerry Park in a small dog beach.
“It would be more like a doggie dipping station than a full swimming beach, somewhere you could at least legally put your dog in the water," he says.
Because of these obstacles, Barton says no concrete plans exist for a new downtown dog beach.
“We don’t have a plan in terms of specific location although we definitely acknowledge the overall objectives of the community."
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