Despite popular support in a survey, View Royal won’t be going ahead with an off-leash area in Chilco Park after the plan was met with pushback from residents living next to the park.
View Royal Mayor David Screech said the idea was resident initiated, but the concerns being raised about the development reinforced his own skepticism about the idea.
“It’s a beautiful space, it works really well as it is now, so I don’t know why we would cut it up,” he said.
In 2020, council received letters and a petition signed by Chilco neighbourhood residents calling for more off-leash dog solutions, but also heard from some residents who were opposed to the idea.
Following that, city staff did a mail survey, with results from the 479 respondents showing people were generally in favour of the new park – with 62 per cent support for a fenced off-leash dog area.
But the city also received a long list of correspondence from residents who raised concerns about the noise, parking and cleanliness issues the development might introduce.
“This has included dog feces thrown over my fence into our fenced-off garden (this happened multiple times, I was unable to consume some of our plants last year due to worries about contamination),” Philip Turner wrote in a letter to council. “Due to my severe allergies, I can only eat fruit and vegetables that I grow myself, and a few other items. Our garbage can having bags of dog feces thrown into them and my hose being used without my knowledge, flooding the garden on the side of the house.”
Other residents also expressed concern about splitting up one of the few greenspaces in the area, saying it should be left for children to use.
“It makes no sense to divide a popular, well-used, multi-use green space in View Royal into single-use area spaces,” Elana Penner wrote in a letter to council.
Screech said council recognizes there is a need for an off-leash park for dogs in the area, but said Chilco Park wasn’t the best option. He said the town will start looking for other greenspaces that could accommodate an off-leash park.
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