I am perturbed that the District of Sooke is considering altering the use of the open Ponds Place/Acreman Place/Townsend Rd. 1.3 hectare park to an off-leash dog park. This small linear park with its gravel path is a delightful walk into town and is daily utilized by seniors, students from nearby Journey middle school and mothers with babies and toddlers among others. Many dog lovers also use it and some already unleash their pets in it to the annoyance of others. It is not suitable because of its small size and its established use as a walkway.
Another issue is that I believe the builder of the adjacent original houses, in agreement with their owners, deeded this park to the municipality to freely enable its use by all citizens. I would submit that to allow a dog park to be established within it not only would degrade the park amenity but would also be a breach of faith to this agreement.
The pet lobby have been very active, it seems, to pressure council for an off-leash park and it would appear there is an established need of such in Sooke. A previous reader highlighted the troublesome situation on Whiffin Spit with dog-droppings galore and dogs freely roaming among families and seniors due to selfish owners, caused in part by inadequte municipal signage and supervision. All dogs naturally love to bound free of the leash and exercise themselves and council should indeed assist in satisfying this need but, Pond Place Park is not suited to this use. My advice to council is leave the natural park as it is and do not degrade it. Do more due diligence in the matter and find a more suited area to assist dog owners in the care of their pets.
Mr. E. A. Anderson