New signs detailing off-leash dog regulations are being erected at park board "hot spots" across the city beginning with Andy Livingston Park.
Vision Vancouver park board chair Aaron Jasper says the signs are one immediate step the board is making in attempts to find peace between dog owners and other park users.
A report called Update: Dog Off-leash Areas, details what's been accomplished by the park board since 1997, including the creation of 35 off-leash areas, in dealing with the city's ever increasing dog population. According to a 2008 Ipsos Reid report, there are up to 145,000 dogs living in Vancouver. When you do the math, which in this case was completed for me, that works out to 4,157 dogs per off-leash area. One of the recommendations in the report suggests physical barriers, including fences, could make life easier for everyone at some off-leash areas.
The next step in the park board's strategy is to have staff identify priority off-leash areas for improvement, as well as explore partnership possibilities. Staff will report its findings back to the park board in early 2012.
LIFE OF RILEY
Jasper also gave me an update on the Riley Park Community Centre, which is scheduled for demolition this fall.
Jasper says it's unlikely the residents group that wants to save the old centre can come up with the appropriate business plan needed for them to take over its operation at no cost to the park board.
Members of the Riley Park South Cambie Community Visions Committee recently addressed the park board and asked that a six-month moratorium be placed on the demolition of the centre. The group says the estimated use at the new, neighbouring Hillcrest Community Centre is at least 40 per cent higher than Riley Park and notes usage of the new Hillcrest aquatic centre is already 50 per cent above projected numbers. Jasper says they're also concerned Hillcrest will become something of a destination location due to the aquatic centre and soon-to-be completed curling and hockey rinks, which will make it even more crowded.
"We haven't received anything yet and we just had our last board meeting of the summer so nothing's going to happen in the next couple of weeks," Jasper said. "Our window to contemplate any proposal is getting pretty narrow, but I've been honest with them about that."
He adds while nothing is impossible, he believes it's unlikely the Riley Park Community Centre will be saved from demolition.
"They'd have to come up with a watertight, solid business plan very soon," Jasper said. "But if not, the greening of that park will begin in the fall."
The park board's annual report, including financial information and highlights of the board's recent accomplishments, is now available on its website at vancouver.ca/ parks.
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