Off-leash dog park proposed for Gabriola

NANAIMO – Set-up would be similar to Nanaimo’s popular Beban Park location.

A group of citizens is hoping to see a dog park established on Gabriola Island.

Gabriola resident Mary Gillis made a presentation to the Area B Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee in June for an off-leash park, which she said is common on the Lower Mainland.

Gillis said other islanders share her sentiments and would like to see a fenced area with separation for small and big dogs, similar to the dog park at Nanaimo’s Beban Park.

“The overall park is fenced all the way around and then it has access through two or three different gates and they’re double gates. You have to go into this little area, unleash your dog, open the second gate into the main park and all the other dogs come crowding around and sniff, so right there your dog is in the position of the newcomer … I’ve never seen a fight at Beban Park,” said Gillis.

She said the group will get more organized in the fall and is looking at fundraising for the project. She said it would be of value to have some land from the regional district.

Gabriola Island/Area B director and committee chairman, Howard Houle, said the project has been added to the committee’s five-year work plan.

“Now what we’ll do is we have to wait until it rises to the top [of the list] and in the meantime, the advocates for that are going around looking at designs, so they can come to us with some designs and cost and that sort of thing,” said Houle.

He said there are few places on the island in which a dog park can be established and suggested Paisley Place as a locale.

While the park is close to a hectare in size, Houle said there isn’t more than half of that available.

When the project begins is dependent on the advocates, according to Houle.

“They’re going to do fundraising and prepare a plan and those sorts of things and all those things help to move it forward,” Houle said, adding that the committee would like to have it done in 2015.