Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant is a ‘dog park wasteland’ that needs an off-leash zone, pet owners say
A group of dog owners from the Mount Pleasant area of Vancouver have banded together to lobby for off-leash playpen space in their neighborhood.
“Right now, Mount Pleasant is a deserted dog park,” said Eugenia Serrano, one of the organizers of the Dude Chilling Dogs group. “There are no dog parks within reasonable walking distance of us.”
The City of Vancouver said it aims to provide most residents with access to an off-leash dog area within a 15-minute walk.
City maps show that the closest off-leash areas to Mount Pleasant in a park are at Trout Lake or Hinge Park in the Olympic Village.
“I can not do that [walk] twice a day,” said Marty Hallat, a dog owner who lives near Dude Chilling Park and is part of the campaign.
He says it’s frustrating trying to balance his dog’s needs while following the rules, risking a violation every time he leaves his pug, Rhino, off-leash.
“There doesn’t seem to be a real solution offered here,” he said.
The lobby group wants to see an off-leash area on the east side of Mount Pleasant. They see Dude Chilling Park as a central location but are open to other parks in the area.
Disputes over off-leash dogs have escalated in the community.
A year ago, a parents’ committee at Mount Pleasant Elementary School put up signs around the school perimeter asking dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash when using school grounds after ongoing complaints.
“There are already tensions in our neighborhood,” Serrano said. “We need a solution because this is an immediate problem now and it will only get worse once there is more density in our neighborhood.”
In 2017, the city’s People, Parks, and Dogs Strategy identified Mount Pleasant as the most underserved neighborhood for an off-leash dog zone.
Two new off-leash areas are planned, but they are in parks west of Cambie Street, catering to residents of west Mount Pleasant, Kitsilano and Fairview, who have also been identified as communities in need. .
In an email to CBC News, the Vancouver Park Board said it doesn’t have the budget to meet demand for off-leash areas, but hopes to address the issue further in its capital plan starting in 2023. .
For dog owners like Hallat, that’s little consolation.
He says it’s been six years since he moved to Mount Pleasant and he doesn’t have a nearby dog park for Rhino.
“My dogs live to be 12 to 15 years old, so that’s literally been half his life,” he said. “How much longer do we have to wait?
Until then, Hallat and others said they would focus on raising the issue with people considering running for board and park council seats in the fall.