Langford mulls creating off-leash dog park

After leashing or banning dogs in most Langford parks, the City is looking at letting dogs run free at its first off-leash greenspace near David Cameron elementary.

The park is proposed for a 2.6 acre wedge of land bounded by Veterans Memorial Parkway, Meaford Avenue and the school property, and is largely overgrown with weeds.

It would be a joint venture with Colwood, as the land sits across the urban boundary. The municipalities are seeking permission to use the land from the owner, the Ministry of Transportation. The property was left unused and idle after the construction of VMP.

“It’s a good area, it’s just full of broom,” said Coun. Lanny Seaton, chair of Langford’s parks committee. “It’s a good area to let a dog run.”

Seaton said once the ministry gives its OK, the City would look at costs to erect a fence around the boundary, and possibly seek donated equipment and volunteers to prepare the land.

Langford would ultimately like to see a series of off-leash parks throughout the city, but finding available land in appropriate locations is tough. One formerly proposed off-leash location in a portion of Willing park in south Langford is now off the table.

“It’s hard finding a place where neighbours won’t get upset,” Seaton said. “We’re looking as areas become vacant. They don’t need to be huge.”

After decades of loose leash laws in the City, last year Langford banned dogs from sports fields such as City Centre Park, Valley View Park, Ed Fisher Memorial Field and Centennial Park, and required dogs to be on-leash in playgrounds.

The move was in response to irresponsible owners leaving dog droppings left on sports fields, especially the expensive and heavily used turf fields at City Centre Park. Seaton said the Sooke School District schools in Langford are having problems with dog droppings on its fields too.

“The real problem is on school grounds on Saturdays (for sports teams),” Seaton said.

“It’s a problem everywhere,” remarked Coun. Roger Wade, citing Valley View park in particular. “There are a few people not picking up after their dog. At Valley View I see dog feces everywhere, and you’ve got kids trying to play ball in that field.”

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