Victoria Mayor, Lisa Helps has put forward a motion to city council to postpone the discussion around dogs in parks until 2023.
Helps believes this will allow parks staff to focus on the projects and priorities council has given them in the 2022 budget.
“Having a strategic level kind of governance-based discussion in 2023 makes way more sense than one after another in 2022,” says Helps.
There are 15 designated off-leash dog parks in Victoria but not one in the downtown core.
Recently there have been three inner-city spaces proposed for off-leash parks, including Chambers Street and Pandora Ave, Brooke Street Park in Fairfield, and Royal Athletic Park.
For the North Park Neighborhood Association, Royal Athletic Park would be a natural fit because it is fully fenced and it’s a central location. Hearing they now have to wait another year was disappointing.
But having dogs running around a chunk of the stadium didn’t sit right with local sports teams.
“This is not the place,” says Curtis Pelletier, the General Manager of The Victoria Harbourcats. He says they weren’t consulted by city staff, adding, “We’re a big part of this community, we give back to the community, we’re here for the community and we’d like to be a part of the conversation.”
Councillor, Sarah Potts who initially brought the proposal to council says she is hopeful the postponement will allow for further ideas and consultations.
“This is really good news that this will be included, hopefully, if this motion passes, that it will be included in the larger paws and park discussion,” says Potts.
Council will vote on the motion Thursday, whether or not an off-leash park ever gets approved for downtown Victoria remains a conversation for another time.