April 27, 2014 5:50 pm

Dog owners protest proposed off-leash area reduction

Hundreds of dog owners have gathered in John Hendry (Trout Lake) Park this afternoon to protest Vancouver Park Board’s proposal to cut a popular off-leash area of the park by 80 per cent.

The cut is part of the new master plan for the park proposed by the board that will define how the park will evolve over the next 10 to 15 years.

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Protesters say the city planned to increase signage and natural barriers, but there was no discussion of reducing one of Vancouver’s most popular dog off-leash areas.

The plan says 72 per cent of respondents thought it was better to delineate the extents of the off-leash area with a combination of vegetation buffers, attractive fencing and signage.

The master plan mentions concerns about the lack of defined boundaries between the off-leash area and the rest of the park, and the lack of loop trails making some park users uncomfortable with potential dog interactions. There are also concerns raised over water quality impact.

But dog owners say the reduced area is too small and will prevent them from interacting with other park users.

They say more enforcement, not a reduced off-leash area, is needed to combat the issue of dog owners who don’t pick up after their dogs.

The group has started a Facebook page in protest of the plan and an online petition has gathered hundreds of signatures.

The Vancouver Park Board is looking for public input on the master plan. You can complete your questionnaire here until April 30.

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