Shared Off-Leash Areas

To meet growing demand from dog owners, Port Coquitlam is considering launching a pilot of shared off-leash areas in fall 2018.

Shared off-leash areas are clearly identified non-fenced sections of parks or trail where dogs can go off-leash during specific times. Locations and times are selected to create as little conflict as possible with other users, and non-owners are welcome to use shared spaces at all times.

Input will be collected:

  • Through an online survey until Sept. 24.
  • From information displays in City facilities, parks and events in the coming weeks.

Background

Port Coquitlam has an estimated 8,000 to 9,000 dogs, many of which are not within walking distance of the community’s two dog parks:

  • the Downtown Dog Off-leash Area and
  • the Shaughnessy Park Dog Off-leash Area

Although these two dog parks are the only public off-leash spaces in Port Coquitlam, off-leash dogs are regularly seen along Traboulay PoCo Trail and in local parks, included some with busy playgrounds and sports fields, such as Gates Park.

This prohibitedoff-leash activity raises concerns about safety, dog waste, and damage to sports fields and ecological areas.

The idea behind shared off-leash areas is to improve service to the thousands of Port Coquitlam dog owners in a cost-efficient way, while steering off-leash activity into designated spaces away from sports fields, playgrounds, high traffic areas and environmentally sensitive zones.

The concept has been implemented successfully in communities such as Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam and Abbotsford.

Why can’t all City parks and trails be off-leash areas?

There are many reasons that Port Coquitlam and other cities have specific designated off-leash areas.

  • Some people dislike or fear dogs.
  • Safety concerns near high traffic areas, playgrounds and sports fields.
  • Management of dog waste.
  • Potential for damage of sports fields and ecological areas.
Why doesn’t the City just build more dog parks?

While additional dog parks may be considered in the future, shared off-leash areas are a cost-effective way to meet the immediate needs of local dog owners.

Shared off-leash areas help maximize the use of existing parks and trails, can be established with minimal investment, and can be located strategically to provide easy access to dog owners throughout the community.

What areas are being considered for shared off-leash areas?

Areas being considered include:

  • Non-sports field areas surrounding Gates Park
  • The section of the Traboulay PoCo Trail from Gates Park to Pitt River Road
  • Castle Park (the south side)
  • Skyline Park (off of Confederation Drive from Vivian Place to Paula Place)
  • Chelsea Park on the north side
  • Cedar Drive trail between Lincoln Avenue and Prairie Avenue
What times of the day are being considered for shared off-leash areas?

Five time frames are being considered:

  • Early morning (before 9 am)
  • Mid-morning (9 am-12 pm)
  • Afternoon (12-4 pm)
  • Early evening (4-7 pm)
  • Late evening (7-9 pm)
What measures will be in effect to prevent problems?

The shared off-leash areas would be clearly identified with signage at all entrances stating the hours, rules and guidelines for users. There would also be a heightened staff presence during the pilot projects and introduction of any new shared off-leash areas for education and enforcement purposes.

“Off leash” does not mean “out of control.” Dog owners would be expected to keep their dogs in control at all times, make sure they are not violent or aggressive, observe proper dog etiquette, pick up after their dogs, and be on-site at all times.

What will happen after the survey closes Sept. 24?

The results of the survey will be provided to the Community & Intergovernmental Committee, which will decide if the idea has merit, and if so, where the pilot project will take place this fall.

Contact

Mitchell Guest
Parks Coordinator
Tel 604.927.5334
Email guestm@portcoquitlam.ca