Leash-Optional Areas A Success in Port Coquitlam
Port Coquitlam dog owners now officially have more places to play with their pets off-leash, with permanent leash-optional areas designated this week at Skyline, Chelsea and soon to be implemented Castle Park.
The formal implementation of the new leash-optional areas – unfenced park spaces that are shared by the general public and residents with off-leash dogs – wraps up a successful 15-month pilot of the concept at Skyline and Chelsea Parks.
The western portion of Castle Park, a distance away from the spray park and playground, was added as a third permanent location to meet demand and based on feedback.
The new shared spaces add to the City’s supply of off-leash areas, which includes two fenced dog parks – one downtown off Maple Street, and the other in north Port Coquitlam on Shaughnessy Street opposite Chester Place.
Public feedback has largely been positive. In a pre-pilot survey of 1,603 people, about 70 per cent of respondents were in favour of expanding the city’s off-leash dog park network.
An online survey running throughout the pilot received 76 responses and identified only minor issues and concerns, and the bylaw officers monitoring the sites reported that users were complying with the requirements for owners to remain on-site, keep their dogs under control at all times, clean up after them, and ensure they are not violent or aggressive.
In response to the survey results, some adjustments will be made to the locations at Skyline and Chelsea Parks. Dog waste stations – including bag dispensers and waste receptacles – and signage outlining the extent of the leash-optional area and rules for use will be added to the new Castle Park location.
The city, home to about 8,000 registered dogs, began investigating additional off-leash areas in 2018 as a cost-effective way to address growing demand and relieve the pressure on Port Coquitlam’s two fenced dog parks, which can be busy during peak times.
Off-leash dogs are regularly seen in city parks and trails, raising concerns about safety, dog waste, and damage to sports fields and ecological areas.
The leash-optional concept has been implemented successfully in other Metro Vancouver communities. Additional sites may be considered in the future in Port Coquitlam.
Information about Port Coquitlam’s off-leash sites can be found at www.portcoquitlam.ca/dogpark.
Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533