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LETTER: Resthaven Park too precious to go to the dogs

As area residents and dog owners, we have a number of serious concerns regarding the proposal for an off-leash dog park. Resthaven Park is a waterfront oasis of tranquility enjoyed by seniors’ walking groups, nature-lovers, families, speed walkers, and people with limited mobility who sit on the benches to read and picnic. Leashed well-behaved dogs also frequent this park with their owners.

Migrating birds rest here and songbirds nest along the shoreline and chirp in the trees. Children sing in the playground and test out their new boots in the mud along the shore.

Creating a fenced off-leash area for dogs in a premium waterfront park is not a good idea. The park is not particularly well-draining and the fenced area will turn into a mud pit for part of the year and a dust bowl for a few months. Carloads of dogs from afar will be dropped off by professional dog walkers and big, unruly dogs owned by liveaboards in the harbour will cavort wildly and produce havoc in this area. Nasty dogs usually jailed in yards will be brought here to strut their stuff. There will be dog fights on occasion and loud barking will puncture the peacefulness. Seniors with tiny dogs will avoid the park altogether and believe us, there are oodles of small dogs wearing rain jackets and living with seniors in this area.

Parking is at a premium along this stretch and even blocks away, cars are parked daily outside residences. In the summer months, whale watching groups park along here as well as fishermen and harbour workers and even people who leave their cars here for days and walk to the ferry. To add carloads of dogs being unloaded to this mix will not result in a tranquil situation.

Resthaven Park is for people and families and well-behaved dogs. Every blade of grass is a blessing. Groups meet here and bring their own chairs so that they can social distance while trying to remain sane in these trying times. From before dawn to after dark, the park walkways are enjoyed by people who appreciate not being knocked over, scratched and dirtied by untrained excited canines on their way to and fro the fenced area.

To sum up, Resthaven Park is too precious to be used as a dog park.

Elizabeth and John Olson

Sidney