Victoria City Hall has received hundreds of emails regarding the human-dog conflict at Dallas Road
Victoria is exploring options to reduce conflict between off-leash dogs and pedestrians along a Dallas Road pathway between Cook Street and Clover Point.
Councilors have received complaints about off-leash dogs on the footpath near the seafront cliffs, where they are not permitted.
Current regulations allow dogs off leash on a grassy area between the footpath and Dallas Road.
It’s the largest off-leash area in the city and a popular spot for dog owners and their pets, according to city staff.
With the completion of a multi-use trail on the south side of Dallas Road, as part of the CRD Clover Forcemain project, staff say regulations need to be updated to adjust boundaries for off-leash areas. A report recommending changes is expected this year.
Councilors voted on Thursday to allocate $100,000 to a pilot project to reduce conflict and provide safety in the Dallas Road waterfront park between Cook Street and Clover Point, with funding coming from the Buildings Reserve and d infrastructure. Details are yet to be determined, but measurements could include sections of split rail fencing, panels and additional benches.
Com. Ben Isitt said councilors heard from older people, people with disabilities and others who don’t feel safe in the area, as well as people who appreciate the current open concept. “It offers a pilot project that would try to balance those considerations and aim for a compromise that doesn’t go to extremes or the other,” he said.
“It doesn’t maintain the status quo, which is inaccessible to a number of people, but it also doesn’t extend to an adjoining section of fence, which would create inconvenience for dog owners and change the aesthetic. of the area in a more substantial way.
Isitt initially suggested a split-rail fence along the north side of the pedestrian path, aligned with the Beacon Hill Park totem pole to the base of Moss Street, but said Thursday he had heard from residents “he there are more creative ways” to improve security.
Council staff received approximately 300 emails on the subject, supporting and opposing the changes.
Com. Geoff Young said many people are unaware of the rules and assume off-leash dogs are allowed on the path, as well as in the grassy area.
Councilors have received many comments from people who walk the area regularly and they have never seen anyone bothered by dogs, but that’s probably because those who don’t like to mingle with off-leash dogs avoid the area, Young said.
“As council members, we know we’ve received many letters from people saying, ‘I’ve been knocked down. I went to the hospital. I know people who went to the hospital because they were run over by dogs. I’m scared to go there because of the dogs,’” he said.
Com. Charlayne Thornton-Joe said fencing should be the last option, suggesting that instead logs and rocks could be placed along the trail. It’s also important to make sure people know the rules and to enforce them, she said.
“I hope we can look at the location of the [dog poo] bags, the water station, trash cans and add more fun educational signage, and that fencing be a last resort in key areas that might need it,” Thornton-Joe said.