Kelowna to get new places for Fido to frolic

City council was told that at least one dog beach could be created this summer, with more to come in the years ahead.

Kelowna’s furriest residents could get a watery play place if all goes well.

City council was told that at least one dog beach could be created this summer, with more to come in the years ahead.

At Monday’s meeting, city council was presented with results of a survey conducted late last year. In it city staff highlight public appetite for more dog-friendly amenities and propose five beach areas—Dewdney Road in McKinley Landing, Cedar Avenue in South Pandosy, Poplar Point at the base of Knox Mountain, a small beach area next to the Sails at the base of Bernard, and a beach access point at the end of Lake Avenue immediately south of Mill Creek’s outflow—to be considered for conversion into a doggy paradise.

Each area comes with its pluses and minuses, everything from unruly dogs, unruly people and disturbances to delicate habitat and neighbours were raised as concerns, depending on the area.

But council was told by parks planner Barb Davidson a thorough public consultation process is expected before anything put the timeline for the parks into 2017.

This was bittersweet news to longtime dog-beach advocate, Coun. Charlie Hodge.

“I’m thrilled this is coming forward, but I’m not thrilled it’s for the 2017 budget, which means it won’t happen this year,” he said.

To that, Davidson offered a sliver of swimming hope for dog owners.

“I have assurances from (my boss) Ian Wilson that there may be room to do something this year,” she said.

All of council seemed onboard with the idea of more dog beaches, so long as concerns were addressed.

“It’ll be nice for us to finally put in place some amenities that we know are very much needed in the community,” said Mayor Colin Basran.

But it’s not only doggy beaches that are being considered. Council is also looking at more dog parks, although there is less of a need for them.

Just over half of the people surveyed believe there are enough dog parks in the city but 55 per cent think there’s a need for more lake access for dogs.

The majority of those surveyed said they would support a small property tax increase to help pay for them.

Kelowna’s only legal dog beach is at Cedar Creek Park about 20 kilometres from downtown Kelowna, a distance that has been criticized in previous surveys.

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