Sooke council has directed district staff to come up with plans for a dog park in John Phillips Memorial Park. (Pixabay)

Sooke council supports plans for dog park at John Phillips Memorial Park

District staff directed to draw up a plan for future project

Plans are officially being fetched for the design of a dog park in Sooke.

The idea came before Sooke council last week, proposing that district staff draw up an outline for a dog park at John Phillips Memorial Park.

Councillors were onboard with the idea and excited to see further development on the initiative.

The dog park will be included in next year’s municipal budget.

Sooke councillor Jeff Bateman said the timing is good for starting this project, as the parks and trails master plan was recently released, which includes looking at some dog management around the district.

He noted that the “tail count” in Sooke is at about 2500, which means there are a lot of people with dogs, and having an enclosed place where people can take them to roam and socialize is something that needs to be addressed sooner than later.

The district will work in collaboration with the Sooke Community Association on the project. Dean Haldane, president of the Sooke Community Association emphasized that nothing is set in stone yet, but he is looking forward to seeing what the district plans.

Sooke resident Herb Haldane, a community association director, has reached out to try and find funds for the project. So far, he’s received more than $6,000 in donations but would like to raise $10,000.

Sooke residents have been rallying to get a dog park for many years, with the idea dating back as far as 2006.

Details on the proposal for John Phillips park are still in preliminary stages, but Mayor Maja Tait is expecting plans to return to the council this fall.

She said more conversations still need to be heard around how everything will come together, such as what the park will look like, the size of it, who will maintain the park, and funding.

“It’s a need in our community. We have a lot of canine friends, and a dog park would provide a necessary, safe space for them to exercise, play, and socialize,” said Tait, a dog owner.

She hopes the park will be able to accommodate many dog owners, and that it will help clear up the issue of dog waste left on sports fields.

Tait voiced a few concerns regarding the rules and usage of the proposed park and wants to make sure that those who aren’t fond of dogs can also still use John Phillips park comfortably and safely.

“It’s not a one size fits all, and there are still quite a few factors to consider,” said Tait. “But it is going to be exciting to work with the community association on a joint project and further build that relationship.”

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