For the first time in eight years, a Kits Point woman says she has hope off-leash dogs will be banned from Hadden Park Beach.
Megan Carvell Davis says according to the deed to Hadden Park sold to the City of Vancouver in 1928 for $1 by Harvey Hadden, turning the beach over to off-leash dogs was never part of the agreement.
In a letter to the park board dated Sept. 21, 1928, Hadden wrote in part, “As I explained to you, my motive in making a gift to the City of Vancouver of Blocks 136 and 137 Kitsilano, is chiefly to afford recreation and pleasure to the public generally, but especially for women and children, and for the enjoyment by them of the beach for bathing purposes…” According to a city bylaw dogs are not allowed on bathing beaches, but in 1998 the park board approved Hadden Park Beach as an off-leash dog area.
“For the past eight years we’ve been asking the park board to abide by the terms of the Hadden Park deed,” Carvell Davis said. “But we’ve never been able to get anyone to listen.”
Davis says that changed recently when Vision Vancouver commissioner Constance Barnes met with her and another resident.
“And for the first time in eight years I feel like someone really listened,” Davis said.
She said Barnes listen made sure copies of the deed were sent to the appropriate park board staff members. Davis says in the past she’d given copies of the deed to senior staff members but nothing happened.
“So far we have no promises,” said Davis. “But not only did Constance listen, I heard her talking about the deed to staff, something that’s never happened before.”
Davis spoke about Hadden Park Beach at a park board meeting Monday night in response to staff recommendations regarding updated guidelines to the city’s off-leash program. In 1998, the park board launched its off-leash program with 27 designated areas.
Those guidelines fall under five areas—location, rules, communication, design and fencing. Parks staff recommend off-leash areas be conveniently located across the city and carefully located within parks while considering other park uses and environmentally sensitive areas. The report recommends off-leash areas should be available all day and the park board and animal control should continue to work together to decrease conflict. (I’m assuming that’s because the strategy has worked so well in the past.)
As for “communication,” staff recommend “websites and signage” concerning off-leash area locations, boundaries and rules should be clear and easy to understand.
Staff also recommend off-leash areas be designed to be attractive to dogs and their owners, and constructed with durable pooch-friendly materials. And finally, staff would like to see dog off-leash areas separated from other park users with fencing or natural barriers, using materials appropriate for each park. The guidelines were approved at the meeting.
Vision Vancouver park board chair Sarah Blyth told me Tuesday morning that her motion of notice regarding the seawall was deferred at Monday’s meeting. Blyth’s motion asked that staff develop options to connect the seawall between Kits Beach and Spanish Banks and provide a timeline and estimate of costs for the job. Blyth also wants staff to investigate extending the Fraser River pathway along the Marpole shore. Blyth says the park board wants to consult with various conservation and environmental groups before moving forward. The next scheduled park board meeting is Sept. 17, but Blyth says it will likely be later in the fall before discussion regarding her motion begins again.