By Roy Wood
The town of Oliver and Oliver Parks and Recreation are creating a new off-leash area for dogs while at the same time restricting the canines from the ball diamonds where they currently roam free.
Parks and Rec manager Carol Sheridan told council Monday that work will begin in September on a fenced, off-leash dog park at the north end of Lions Park. It will include a separate “small-dog area,” she said.
The new park is meant as a replacement for the current off-leash area on baseball diamonds numbers four and five in the playing fields area. Starting next season, dogs won’t be allowed on the fields except for between 6 and 9 a.m.
Until now, the diamonds have been available for dogs when there are no sporting events scheduled. However, the shared-use approach has led to conflicts when preparations are being made for scheduled games and some owners still insist on using the diamonds to run their dogs.
The new facility, said Sheridan, is seen as a solution to the shared-use conflicts. “We know we are asking people to travel a little further,” she said. “We know some people will be disappointed.”
The new Lions Park facility will be available from dawn until 10 p.m. year round.
Council agreed to amend its dog bylaw to remove the ball diamonds and add the Lions Park area as approved off-leash sites.
Monday’s decision comes about a year after an Oliver dog owner and former mayor suggested that Lions Park would be a great spot for an off-leash areas.
Pat Hampson told council last June that the Lions Park Action Committee has discussed the possibility of a fenced off-leash area at the north end of the park.