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Residents call for closure of Castlegar dog park

Some residents of 5th Avenue and 8th Street in Castlegar are calling for the closure of the dog park in Millennium Park, branding it a “public nuisance.”

Jarrod Beck, who appealed to council on their behalf on Tuesday, said he has witnessed loose dogs running through yards, constant barking, dogs fighting, and a general lack of enforcement.

He read from several letters from his neighbours as well as excerpts from the Millennium Park master plan as he made his case for doing away with the dog park.

“I would urge those who support dog parks [to] advocate for them to be placed in their own neighbourhoods, because it’s wreaking havoc on ours,” he said.

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Beck said 75 per cent of dog owners or more are responsible, “but 25 per cent are ruining it for everyone.” He said the area used to be frequented by birds, including sandpipers, but dogs have since chased them away.

Beck added unhappy residents have frequently complained to the city’s animal control contractor, but she doesn’t work seven days a week. Consequently, they’ve taken matters into their own hands and “we get treated with hostility. We take abuse asking people to be responsible.”

Corporate officer Tracey Butler said she has since spoken to the officer, who will alter her patrol schedule to hit the busiest times. Beck suggested those tend to be weekends and evenings.

Councillors were generally sympathetic, thanking Beck and saying they appreciated his frustration.

Councillor Brian Bogle said he thinks some better signage would go a long way toward keeping dogs on leash.

City manager Chris Barlow suggested if council wants to close the dog park, they should first pass a notice of motion, warning the broader community what they are considering.

Late last year the dog park was a source of controversy when council considered a request to install lights there. They ultimately decided to drop the project from their budget entirely.

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