An appearance on the news during last week’s Metro Vancouver snowstorm has landed a group of Kitsilano dog owners in potentially hot water.
The group was seen letting dogs frolic in an enclosed tennis court at McBride Park during Vancouver’s biggest snow day. Not long after, they heard from the city.
“When the story aired, it was a bit of a feel-good story during the snow day — we had about 15 dogs running around in the tennis court, we were having a good time,” said dog owner Chloe Warrysh.
“The park rangers came and said that we can no longer play in the tennis courts and that they would fine us $2,000 next time we were here.”
Warrysh is a member of a group of dog owners that say they’re underserved by dog parks or dog leash areas in Kits.
The group says the tennis court is one of the only nearby options, and that owners are careful to clean up after their dogs and vacate the courts of other park users want to use them.
Warrysh says she doesn’t have access to a car, meaning getting to other parks is a challenge.
“The next closest enclosed space is actually Olympic village, which is actually quite far, and then there is a couple of off-leash areas but that would be Spanish Banks or Kits Point,” said owner Joey Sherren.
“The dream scenario would be to have an off-leash area that’s fenced in, and in the interim be able to use this space during off-hours for our dogs to play.”
The City of Vancouver, in fact, acknowledges that Kitsilano needs more facilities for dogs.
The Vancouver Park Board adopted a new dog park strategy in 2017, with Kits listed as the highest priority neighbourhood for a new dog park.
“We are currently exploring opportunities for new off-leash areas in the Kits neighbourhood as it was identified … as one of six underserved neighbourhoods,” said the city in a statement.
But the city and the park board have not committed to a timeline for any new parks.
In the meantime, Sherren, Warrysh and other owners will have to find somewhere else to run their pups, as the city says it is holding firm to the no dogs on the court rule.