With dog owners making up 27 per cent of Surrey’s population, the need for more dog-off-leash parks is growing, but some dog owners need not worry, as plans are in motion for a new dog park in South Surrey.
The plans for the Pioneer Dog Park were unveiled by park planning and design manager Ted Ulrich at the Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism Committee meeting on October 16. The new park will be located along the Pioneer Greenway at 34 Ave. and 150 St., just south of the newly-completed Pioneer Overpass.
“It’s not just about the dogs. It’s about dog owners,” said Ulrich. “When people go to dog-off-leash areas, they spend a lot of time socializing together.”
Ulrich says three quarters of Surrey dog owners visit a park regularly, with a third going every day.
“It’s not uncommon to see eight or more cars parked at any of the off-leash areas we have now.”
Local dog owners also recognize the need for more off-leash areas
“I don’t think we have enough of them,” said Kelsey Nealon, a South Surrey dog walker. “There’s a lot of dogs in the area, I know that for sure.”
Nealon’s business, Mutts Unleashed, has her walking dogs at parks all over South Surrey, most of which require dogs to be on a leash.
“I think it’d be great to have as many as there can be that are made especially for that purpose,” said Nealon. “A lot of people walk their dogs in regular parks, so it’s nice to have something that’s actually meant for that.”
Specialized dog-off-leash parks make public parks safer
Despite most of Surrey’s parks forbidding off-leash activity, there are still many dog owners who disobey the rules, sometimes resulting in dog bite incidents.
According to Ulrich’s presentation, “Most people agree that dog-off-leash areas are important for safety of park users.”
Also discussed at the meeting were 10 more proposed locations for future dog-off-leash areas across Surrey.
There are currently eight dog parks in the city, with the new Pioneer Dog-Off-Leash Park nearing completion before the end of 2013.
Currently, some town centres, such as Cloverdale, Fleetwood and Guildford only have one off-leash area for dogs.
Ulrich addressed the concerns of some residents
“Dogs poop. And they bark, sometimes quietly, other times quite loudly,” said Ulrich.
Despite these concerns, the city recognized the majority in demand.
According to Ulrich “A majority of Surrey residents are satisfied with the current level of enforcement of leash laws.”