Just in time for spring, dog walkers will have two off-leashed parks to take their pooches to in Port Coquitlam beginning April. 1.
Skyline and Chelsea Parks are the selected locations for the city’s one-year pilot of leash-optional areas.
These will be unfenced park spaces shared by the general public and residents with off-leash dogs.
“We have thousands of dog owners in our community, and there is a clear need for more places where they can interact with their dogs’ off-leash,” Mayor Brad West said. “Leash-optional spaces are a cost-efficient way to provide this service, and over the next year we’re going to see if they work in Port Coquitlam as well as they do in other communities.”
As of Apr. 1, the entirety of Skyline Park between Eastern and Western Drives on the south side of the city will be designated leash-optional for the pilot project, along with the north section of Chelsea Park on the north side.
Port Coquitlam has about 8,000 registered dogs and two fenced dog parks: the larger Shaughnessy Park Dog Off-leash Area on the north side, and the smaller Downtown Dog Off-leash Area on the south side.
However, the opportunity to walk dogs off leash doesn’t mean pet walkers and owners don’t have to remain vigilant.
Given that the leash-optional areas are unfenced shared spaces, owners must remain on-site, keep their dogs under control at all times, clean up after them, and ensure they are not violent or aggressive, the city says.
Signs with rules for use will be posted along the boundaries, and bylaw enforcement will be ramped up to educate users and enforce the rules.
Dog waste bags and bins will also be provided at both locations.
To judge if the project is working, a year-long online survey at www.portcoquitlam.ca/dogs will collect feedback about the pilot project.