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LETTER: Summerland’s Powell Beach should not be off-leash dog park

Trout Creek already has many off-leash areas for its residents

Dear Editor:

I have been following with interest the serious attention the Summerland council has been giving to the Summerland Dog Owners Association’s request for an additional local off-leash dog park.

By spending money on hiring a consultant to do a lengthy review of the pros and cons of the three potential sites, along with drawings and financial proposals and a survey, I am struck with the importance a new dog park is being given at this very challenging time of COVID-19.

There is no doubt the council wants to make an informed and fair decision for all Summerlanders.

One of the principles set out in the background information for an off-leash dog park is that best practice suggest it not serve a specific neighbourhood but instead should be large and draw a few neighbourhoods or an entire district.

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Having lived in Trout Creek for 37 years, I can tell you that Trout Creek residents are very well set up with several off-leash dog areas. People with dogs regularly run their dogs at the dog beach near Sunoka Beach Park and then continue to allow their dogs to move off-leash on the channel below the research station where the federal government provides free bags and a disposal can.

Then, if that’s not enough, they head out to the Kettle Valley Railway trails and take their dogs for a splash at our off-leash beach in Lowertown by Rotary Beach.

Trout Creek residents are well served by having numerous options to run their dogs off leash close to their neighbourhood.

A further off-leash park at Powell Beach is ridiculous and does not serve the majority of dog owners.

Why bring extra dog parking problems to Trout Creek while we have ongoing densification and already limited green space.

Having worked in the school district, I’ve noted Trout Creek School has relied on Powell Beach for outdoor education and community churches, music groups and families use it for a gathering place.

We are so lucky to have numerous areas to choose from with options such as Living Memorial Park and the rodeo grounds, both having large and suitable terrain for off-leash large and small dogs.

Should we want to develop a small dog park area accessible for seniors without a car, perhaps we should consider using a small section of Memorial Park or the green space in front of the museum. However, I’m sure that most would agree that losing any green park space in any neighbourhood area should be done as a very last resort.With the rising mental health issues and obesity levels among our children and teens, we are all learning that preserving green spaces for exploration and play provides natural green therapy and increases a sense of well being.

Our parks with beaches are havens for families and draw tourists. Let’s keep those gems in Summerland

I’ve asked Summerland mayor and council to please take Powell Beach off the table for a dog park and look at the best option.

My vote is for the Living Memorial dog park option at a cost of $26,700, with mitigation costs dealt with when council sees them a priority.

Christine Micallef

Summerland

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