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Dog park hours leave Prince Rupert owners seeking answers
Prince Rupert dog owners are frustrated with new limitations put on a popular off-leash spot.
Doug Kerr Field, Prince Rupert's unofficial dog park, will now be closed from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. every day.
Bill Horne, Prince Rupert's director of public works, said the city decided to limit the hours of usage on Doug Kerr Field after receiving complaints about excessive noise.
"Because it's so close to a residential area, we've had a number of complaints from residents about people coming into the dog park at 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m.," he said.
The new rule will affect a number of Prince Rupert dog owners who use the space for off-leash excursion and social time for their dogs.
Ray Newman, a shift worker on Ridley Island, said the limitations have created hardship for shift workers who frequent the park prior to the start of their work day.
"The hours imposed by the city make the park available to basically 9 to 5 workers and that is about all," Newman said, adding the noise bylaws have longer hours.
"This means on weekdays someone can fire up a jackhammer outside my bedroom window at 7 a.m. and continue to operate noisy equipment until 10 p.m., so how can the city impose a closure of the park from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.?"
The city said it is trying to work with both users of Doug Kerr Field and residents of the nearby neighbourhood. Horne said those complaining suggested the field be closed until 9 a.m., but the city decided to try 8 a.m.
Newman said the new field hours will push more dog owners into local trails, preventing dogs from being able to go off leash and causing worries for owners about wolves.
In the meantime the city won’t be locking the gate, but if noise complaints continue to be an issue it will be.
“We’ll see how the public and dog owners respect the quietness of the neighbourhood during those hours,” Horne said.
If the neighbourhood is satisfied with the change, the hours will stay the same. If there are still complaints, Horne said the city may have to look at another location for the unofficial dog park.
Doug Kerr Field is still classified as a ball field. The city looked into converting the field into a dog park earlier this year, but decided it wasn’t financially viable at the time. The time restrictions have confused users of the field.
“If it’s an unofficial dog park, why do we have official rules for it?” Jessica Lindstorm, another frequent user of Doug Kerr Field, said.