Summer is long past, yet in the months ahead of wintry reflection, dog owners may be curious to review results from the summer pop-up dog parks in Saanich.
For two weeks at a time this past summer, fences were set up at five Saanich parks to localize off-leash areas for dogs.
The pilot project was initiated to determine how park space can best be shared and involved pop-ups hosted in turns at Fowler, Hyacinth, Gorge, Rudd and Cadboro-Gyro park between June 29 and Sept. 7.
An online survey was also open for the duration of the program and garnered 585 respondents; their most visited dog park pop-ups were Cadboro-Gyro and Hyacinth.
When asked if they would utilize a permanent enclosure, 80 per cent of respondents answered yes. Asked what would concern them most if enclosures were brought permanently to a park near them, the top responses were ineffective control (31.38 per cent), potential for aggression from dogs (30.34 per cent) and cleanliness (29.14 per cent).
However, 53 per cent of respondents said they had no concerns at all.
Coun. Judy Brownoff, who stewarded the project, said it was well-received overall by the dog community. Social benefits were observed at the pop-ups, not just between pet owners but the dogs as well, she said.
“What I had heard from some residents was, if we were going to do these, we should try and put them where higher populations and higher socialization between neighbours would be,” Brownoff said, noting it was a nice way to bring people together outdoors. “One lady said she met some neighbours she hadn’t even met before.”
The pilot included the hiring of a student to monitor, observe and report on the temporary set-ups.
The spaces allowed dogs to play off leash, while also promoting community building and education around pet etiquette.
Information garnered from the pop-ups will be part of Saanich’s People, Pets and Parks Strategy beginning in 2022.
To view results in greater detail, go online to https://bit.ly/3Dz9MAI.