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Port Moody to investigate how much it will cost to become more dog-friendly

One Port Moody councillor said making the city more dog friendly will cost a lot of money, but others think it will be a good investment.
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Among the recommendations in a report to Port Moody council on how to make the city more dog-friendly is the increased placement of dog waste bins like this one at the off-leash enclosure at Rocky Point Park.

Port Moody will look at the costs and timeline for making the city more dog-friendly.

At a meeting of council’s committee of the whole on Tuesday (Oct. 19), councillors referred recommendations to improve the lot of the city’s canine residents to staff to report back on what they would cost, how long some would take to implement and which might be able to be integrated into other projects already underway or being planned.

The recommendations come from a report put together by members of Port Moody’s parks and recreation commission. They include:

• using community engagement and data analysis to determine the needs of dog owners

• creating a new dog park classification that would better define where dogs must be on a leash and where they can run free

• establishing guidelines for dog amenities like waste containers, water, seating for their owners, drainage and buffer zones from neighbouring houses or school grounds

• improving the existing off-leash dog areas at Rocky Point, Chines and Bert Flinn parks as well as identify other locations for such parks

• expanding the red bin program to collect dog waste

• improving signage at dog parks that better explains the rules and responsibilities of dog owners as well as the areas’ boundaries

Haven Lurbiecki, who co-authored the report along with Wilhelmina Martin and Megan Traverse, said with more people adopting canine companions to help them get through the COVID-19 pandemic, giving them more places to go with their pets and clearly delineating their responsibilities would improve life for all residents by reducing the chances of conflict or misunderstanding. 

She suggested some improvements could even be paid for by increased licensing fees and fines collected by enforcement of the rules.

But Coun. Diana Dilworth said addressing the full suite of recommendations would “cost a lot of money” and the city currently has bigger fish to fry.

Coun. Meghan Lahti disagreed. 

She said dog facilities in Port Moody are so lacking she usually takes her own pooch to neighbouring communities like Coquitlam and Burnaby that have more off-leash areas.

“Right now we are not a dog-friendly community,” she said. “We could do so much more.”

Coun. Steve Milani, who noted the recent passing of his own beloved dog, said, “anything we can do to help our fine furry family members is well-appreciated. Us Port Moody peeps love their dogs.”